Pakistan president sets election for May

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 6:28pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 6:50pm

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Wednesday that general elections would be held on May 11, in what will mark the first democratic transition of power in the country’s history.

“The president received a summary from the government asking him to announce a suitable date for the election, so the president announced today that general elections to the national assembly will be held on May 11,” spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

Parliament made history last week by becoming the first national assembly under a civilian leader to complete a full, five-year term but Taliban attacks and record levels of violence against Shiite Muslims have raised fears about security for the polls.

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Pakistan’s four provinces, but it was not immediately clear whether those polls will also be held on May 11.

A parliamentary committee has until Friday to select a candidate to head up a caretaker administration, which will formally steer the country towards the ballot box.

It was given the job after Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N party failed to reach an agreement on a name by Tuesday.