Pakistan elections 'largely fair': US

Updated on Feb 20, 2008 11:56 AM IST
The US says President Pervez Musharraf appears to have put the country back on the road to democracy and expects there would be no change in Islamabad's anti-terror efforts.
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PTI | BySridhar Krishnaswami, Washington

Terming the elections in Pakistan "largely fair", the US on Wednesday said President Pervez Musharraf appeared to have put the country back on the "road to democracy" and hoped whichever party forms the government there would be no change in Islamabad's anti-terror efforts.

Asked whether the elections in which Musharraf's allies were routed have "weakened" his clout, White House spokesman Dana Perino only said, "well, we'll have to see".

"I think that what we can say is that they (the polls) seem to have been largely fair and that people were able to express themselves, and that they can have confidence in their vote," she said in a briefing in Accra in Ghana as US President George W Bush arrived there on the fourth leg of his five-nation tour.

Noting that "President Musharraf's party has conceded that they lost seats in that election", Perino said "now the next step on the path to democracy is establishing what that new government will look like".

"In democracies you have situations sometimes where your party loses in the Parliament or in the Congress, as President Bush knows very well, since in 2006 the Republicans lost a majority in the House and the Senate. And we've continued to work as a strong, functioning government... And I think a country like Pakistan can get there," she said when asked to comment on Musharraf's "standing" in the aftermath of polls.

"We asked him (Musharraf) to try to get the country back on the road to democracy and it appears that he has done that with these elections," Perino said.

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