BB declared winner of PPP leadership
KARACHI: Former premier Benazir Bhutto was on Monday formally declared winner of her party’s first ever leadership elections, overcoming the first of several obstacles to her bid to return from exile to run in October general elections.
Benazir, who was declared the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairperson for life five years ago, was forced to contest her own post under new electoral laws introduced by the government of military ruler President Pervez Musharraf.
She was elected unopposed in a nationwide internal party ballot on Sunday, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
Her victory was clear late on Friday when nominations closed with Benazir the only nominee for the 165,000-strong party’s top post and on Sunday the PPP said she had won, but reserved a formal declaration for Monday after counting
Benazir, twice-elected and twice-dismissed as prime minister, will return to lead the party’s election campaign “soon”, Babar said, declining to give a date. Other party officials have said she would try to travel to Pakistan in August.
Benazir went into self-imposed exile in 1998 and has been shuttling between London and Dubai ever since. She issued a statement from London, from where she filed her nomination papers, thanking PPP members for their confidence in her leadership.
“The trust of workers in my leadership has given added strength to face the persecution of the establishment,” she said.
Her bid to run in the country’s first elections since a military takeover in October 1999 is setting her on a collision course with President Pervez Musharraf, who has introduced several laws which effectively ban her from candidacy. —AFP