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(02/13/08) -

Late Bhutto’s Party Most Popular in Pakistan

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The party of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto has gained a significant amount of public backing, according to a poll by the International Republican Institute. 50 per cent of respondents would vote for the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) in this month’s election to the National Assembly, up 20 points since last November.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The party of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto has gained a significant amount of public backing, according to a poll by the International Republican Institute. 50 per cent of respondents would vote for the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) in this month’s election to the National Assembly, up 20 points since last November.

The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz Sharif (PML-N) is second with 22 per cent, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) with 14 per cent, the Muttahhida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan (MMA) with one per cent, and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also with one per cent.

In October 2007, PPPP leader Bhutto—who had lived in exile for a decade—returned to Pakistan. As her caravan travelled through Karachi, two massive suicide bombings killed more than 140 people, and injured 450 more. Bhutto—who was not hurt—accused political foes of planning to kill her.

On Dec. 28, Bhutto was assassinated after an election rally in Rawalpindi. Bhutto was to take part in a parliamentary election originally scheduled for Jan. 8, but eventually postponed until Feb. 18. Before her demise, Bhutto claimed that government insiders were planning to kill her, and said Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf should be held at least partially responsible should something happen to her.

In October 1999, Musharraf led a military coup to depose then Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Two years later, Musharraf assumed the presidency. An April 2002 referendum—where less than 30 per cent of eligible voters participated—extended his term until October 2007.

In October 2002, the pro-Musharraf PML-Q elected 69 legislators to the 342-seat National Assembly. Following a deal with the MMA, the legislative branch passed a controversial constitutional amendment which legalized the 1999 coup and gave the president the authority to dissolve the legislative branch with the Supreme Court’s approval.

On Feb. 12, Human Rights Watch issued a report, claiming that the Election Commission of Pakistan is biased against opposition parties. The international body, which is observing the electoral process ahead of next week’s ballot, stated: "The (commission’s) failure to act on allegations of irregularities means the electoral machinery for national elections cannot be considered impartial."

Polling Data

If the elections for the National Assembly were held next week, for which party would you vote?

 

Jan. 2008

Nov. 2007

Sept. 2007

Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP)

50%

30%

28%

Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)

22%

25%

36%

Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q)

14%

23%

16%

Muttahhida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan (MMA)

1%

4%

5%

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)

1%

2%

1%

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)

n.a.

6%

5%

Not sure

6%

4%

5%

Source: International Republican Institute
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 3,485 Pakistani adults, conducted from Jan. 19 to Jan. 29, 2008. Margin of error is 1.69 per cent.

 

Complete Poll (PDF)