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Pakistani Opposition Party Backs PPP's Zardari for President


A Pakistani opposition party is taking a position on who should replace former President Pervez Musharraf.

Officials with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement said Wednesday that they believe Pakistan People's Party leader Asif Ali Zardari should be the country's next president.

Zardari and his PPP head Pakistan's ruling coalition with the Pakistan Muslim League-N party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

MQM party officials praised Zardari for the way he handled Mr. Musharraf's ouster from government.

Leaders of Pakistan's ruling coalition discussed selecting a new president Tuesday. Under the country's constitution, the government has 30 days to elect a permanent replacement. Senate chairman Mohammed Mian Soomro has assumed the role of acting president.

Mr. Musharraf has told supporters that he has no plans to leave Pakistan.

The former president's political allies met with him Tuesday. They say he seems relaxed, and that he intends to remain in Islamabad with his family.

Pakistan's ruling coalition ended its first meeting since President Musharraf's resignation Tuesday by postponing any decisions on restoring the judiciary.

Minority partners in the coalition government said they needed more time to decide what to do next after they had learned of a secret agreement between the two major parties.

The deal is believed to involve when and how the government would restore judges purged by Mr. Musharraf last year.

Former Prime Minister Sharif and his PML-N party have been adamant about restoring the judiciary. However, PPP leader Zardari has been more reluctant - possibly because the justices could take up challenges to a legal amnesty granted to PPP leaders on corruption charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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