Delay expected for Pakistani elections

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Pakistan's election commission is expected to announce a new date for the January 8 election after the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto last week triggered nation-wide violence. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in Islamabad has more.

Election officials say it is impossible to hold the vote January 8 because many of their offices and voting materials were destroyed in riots that followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Analysts expect the vote to be delayed until mid-February or March.

But the two main opposition parties want the vote to be held as originally planned, saying they will take to the streets if the government postpones the elections.

Political analyst Talat Masood says delaying the elections would be ill-advised for the government of President Pervez Musharraf.

Some polling offices were burnt during an incident after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. This may make carrying out the election more difficult.

"I think that it is an extremely dangerous move that the government is doing and one blunder after another they continue to make not understanding the implications of all this. I'm really worried about Pakistan," said Masood. "The way that President Musharraf is handling the state of affairs, he is only interested in perpetuating himself."

President Musharraf is to address the nation on television at 1500 UTC Wednesday.

This story has updates
See Elections in Pakistan delayed until February 18