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Saturday, 2 November, 2002, 16:04 GMT
Pakistan leader names assembly date
SA Noorani (2nd R) of the MMA greets Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (R) of the PML-Q while other MMA leaders look on
Politicians will first have to elect a prime minister

Pakistan's president General Pervez Musharraf has announced the date of the first session of the newly elected National Assembly.

It will meet on 8 November, when it is expected to elect the new prime minister.

But parliament will be hung, since none of the groups have been able to demonstrate their ability to form a majority.

With the inaugural session of the parliament's lower house, the military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf will cease to be the chief executive and those powers will be transferred to the newly elected prime minister.

Opposed to interference

After three years of military rule, Pakistan is now seen to be gradually moving towards a democratic system.

President Pervez Musharraf
General Musharraf will still be president
But the decision for General Musharraf to continue to be the country's president as well as the chief of the army has already cast shadows over the formation of a new government, as two major groups in parliament are opposed to any army interference in the democratic process.

They are also opposed to the constitutional amendments announced by President Musharraf, and say that only the elected parliament has the authority to make such changes.

Last month's elections have produced a hung parliament and so far the efforts to form a stable coalition have not been successful.

But a pro-Musharraf faction of Pakistan Muslim League, the PML(Q), is confident of forming the next government.

Perhaps all these issues will dominate the inaugural session of the national assembly, when the elections for the speaker and leader of the house take place.

But more importantly, it will determine whether the elected members have accepted the new rules set by President Musharraf for Pakistan's parliamentary democracy, including a permanent role for a military-dominated National Security Council, to monitor the performance of an elected government.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

29 Oct 02 | South Asia
25 Oct 02 | South Asia
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10 Oct 02 | South Asia
09 Oct 02 | South Asia
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