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Pakistan set for historic, unpredictable election

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 9:36 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP)
Pakistanis check damages at an election campaign office of Pakistan People's Party, PPP, destroyed by a bomb blast Friday in Quetta, Pakistan,. Pakistan is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections Saturday, the first transition between democratically elected governments in a country that has experienced three military coups and constant political instability since its creation in 1947. The parliament's ability to complete its five-year term has been hailed as a significant achievement.

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Despite a bloody campaign marred by Taliban attacks, Pakistan holds historic elections Saturday pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister once exiled by the army and an incumbent blamed for power blackouts and inflation.

The vote marks the first time in Pakistan’s 65-year history that a civilian government has completed its full term and handed over power in democratic elections. Previous governments have been toppled by military coups or sacked by presidents allied with the powerful army.

Deadly violence struck again Friday, with a pair of bombings against election offices in northwest Pakistan that killed three people and a shooting that killed a candidate in the southern city of Karachi. More than 130 people have been killed in the run-up to the vote, mostly secular party candidates and workers. Most attacks have been traced to Taliban militants, who have vowed to disrupt a democratic process they say runs counter to Islam.

 

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