Musharraf wins vote of confidence

President Pervez Musharraf has won a vote of confidence in both houses of Pakistan's parliament and four provincial assemblies, keeping him in power until late 2007.

    Pervez Musharraf will stay in power until late 2007

    "He has won the vote of confidence," said Information Minister Shaikh Rashid on Thursday, adding that about 60%  of the lawmakers had supported Musharraf. 

    The vote means General Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 bloodless coup, will remain president until late 2007. 

    It follows the approval this week of a series of constitutional amendments by both houses of parliament that gave him vast powers, including the authority to dismiss the elected government. 

    Support

    Musharraf was supported in the vote by the military-backed coalition government of Prime Minister Zafar Allah Khan Jamali. 

    The constitutional amendments were also backed by the Islamic alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), to give Musharraf the two-thirds majority he needed. 

    But the Islamist parties abstained in the confidence vote where Musharraf only needed a simple majority. 

    Secular opposition parties, who accuse Musharraf of subverting democracy, boycotted the confidence vote. 

    In the 342-member National Assembly, Musharraf secured 191 votes with no votes against. He won 56 votes in the 100-member Senate, with just one vote against. 

    Powerful

    Musharraf survived two
    assassination attempts in 11 days

    Musharraf handed some powers to a prime minister after elections in October 2002, but remains easily the most powerful man in the country. 

    Under a deal with the MMA, Musharraf will keep the post of military chief until the end of 2004. 

    The MMA, which vehemently opposes Musharraf's decision to side with the United States in "war against terror", has said that it supports the amendments to end a political deadlock which has paralysed both houses of parliament since the 2002 elections. 

    Musharraf, a staunch ally of Washington in the "war against
    terror", survived a suicide bombing on Thursday, blamed on
    Islamic militants, the second assassination attempt in 11
    days.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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