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PPP leaders back Zardari for President

world Updated: Aug 22, 2008 21:58 IST
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Pakistan's ruling PPP leaders on Friday overwhelmingly backed party chief Asif Ali Zardari for the post of President, elections for which will be held on September 6, but left a final decision on him.

Meeting four days after Pervez Musharraf resigned from the post in the face of imminent impeachment, the top leadership of the PPP, the largest constituent in the ruling coalition, considered the party's presidential candidate.

At its Central Executive Committee meeting, party members felt that Zardari should take over as the next President as PPP is representing the federation and has a right to the presidency, PPP leader and Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters after the meeting.

The meeting finally authorised Zardari to select the party's candidate for the presidential election.

"Mr Zardari thanked the Central Executive Committee for backing him and said he would announce his decision within 24 hours," Rehman said, adding the meeting had not considered any alternative candidates.

Reports have suggested that Zardari is not keen on the post of President being held by any other party till constitutional amendments are passed to repeal some of the President's sweeping powers, including the ability to dissolve Parliament and dismiss the Prime Minister.

At today's meeting, some PPP leaders advised Zardari against assuming the presidential post as it would become a ceremonial position after the abolition of such powers.

The members of the central executive committee, however, insisted that the next President should be from the PPP.