Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said he expects to be re-elected by the outgoing parliament ahead of general elections which he saw taking place in November, according to an interview with a Bosnian newspaper that will be published on Friday.
"Elections in Pakistan will be held, I think, in November," said the army chief who seized power in a 1999 military coup and was elected president by the parliament in 2002.
"They will be democratic and free and all parties will be able to take part," Musharraf said before starting this week's four-leg European tour which includes Bosnia on Friday and Saturday.
"I expect the political grouping that supports me to win again, although my mandate will be extended in September or October in the parliament," he said in remarks to the leading daily Dnevni Avaz.
Under Pakistan's constitution, the National Assembly and Senate along with the four provincial assemblies elect the president, and Musharraf's allies enjoy a majority in the sitting parliament.
His remarks come at a time when the country is abuzz with speculation that Musharraf is hatching some form of power-sharing deal with former premier Benazir Bhutto, which would allow her to return home after nearly a decade living in self-exile to avoid a raft of corruption charges.
Bhutto wants Musharraf to honour a commitment to become a civilian leader this year by stepping down as army chief, something he is believed to be reluctant to do.
But with a possible deal in the making, lawmakers from Bhutto's party could simply abstain, rather than vote against Musharraf, if he asks the sitting assemblies to give him another five-year term, political analysts say.