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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Pakistan still lacks government
Leaders of the Muttahida Mujlis-e-Amal (MMA), meet to discuss the formation of the government.
Islamic alliance members will hold further talks

Two weeks after the general elections in Pakistan, the main political parties remain unable to agree on the formation of a coalition government.

The alliance of religious parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, which won an unexpectedly high number of seats, has said it will hold a final round of negotiations and expects a decision within a few days.

President Musharraf
Leaders are concerned at Musharraf's amendments
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the PML-Q, the pro-military party which won the most seats, said he thought it would take a maximum of a week to come up with a new government.

The alliance of religious parties, which is widely seen as holding the balance of power in Pakistan, has yet to decide which way to jump.

Concerns

A senior party leader, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, said their main concern was to ensure that only parliament could change the constitution.

This was a reference to the controversial amendments made by President Musharraf, which gave him, among other powers, the right to dismiss parliament.

The religious parties have also called for parliament to be convened.

They have given no clue as to which party they will support and also said they would be prepared to sit in opposition.

Official results

Spokesman Azeem Chaudhary said the PML-Q was still holding talks and he thought it could take up to a week to decide a new government.

He said the National Assembly could not be called to meet until all the official results of the general election had been announced.

And the information secretary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's PPP said there was a deadlock and they were doing all they could to break it.

He said that if it was announced when a new National Assembly would meet, it could help provide a cut-off date for the negotiations.

The day after the general election it became clear there would be a hung parliament.

However, few suspected how long it would take to decide the shape of the new government.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

16 Oct 02 | Business
10 Oct 02 | South Asia
09 Oct 02 | South Asia
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