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Pakistan's National Assembly Elects Civilian Prime Minister - 2002-11-21

Pakistan's National Assembly has elected the country's first civilian prime minister since a 1999 military coup.

The new prime minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali is from the pro-military Pakistan Muslim League (Q) party. The party supports President Pervez Musharraf, the army general who ousted the previous prime minister in the 1999 coup.

Thursday's vote for prime minister comes more than a month after national parliamentary elections. No party won a majority in the vote, leaving political blocs to negotiate for weeks in an attempt to build a coalition government.

Mr. Jamali won 172 votes, out of 328 cast, defeating candidates from an anti-Musharraf group and an Islamist alliance.

Mr. Jamali won support from smaller parties and defectors from the Pakistan People's Party, led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The Pakistan Muslim League supports President Musharraf's constitutional amendments, which give him the power to dismiss parliament and strengthen the role of the military.

The president, however, says he will leave the day-to-day duties of leadership to the new prime minister.