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Pakistan's Ruling Party Claims Election Victory

Candidates backed by Pakistan's ruling party have claimed victory in the first round of local elections, amid allegations of vote-rigging.

The chief minister Pervaiz Elahi of Punjab province said Saturday that initial returns showed 80 percent of winning candidates in the province were supported by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League.

Ruling party allies from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement claimed a majority of local seats in Sindh, while opposition groups appeared to be leading in Northwest Frontier. Results from Baluchistan were unclear.

Opposition leaders have accused the ruling party of fraud, but election officials said today they had received no complaints.

Pakistan bars political parties from competing in the elections, but their factions are openly supporting candidates.

At least 16 people died and hundreds were injured in violence during Thursday's elections in half of the nation's districts.

Voting continues next week in the remaining areas.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.