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Musharraf 'elected to third term'

  • Story Highlights
  • Unofficial vote count says Musharraf elected to third term
  • Vote held despite protests and boycotts from opposition lawmakers
  • Country must wait at least 11 days for court ruling on his eligibility
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf was Saturday elected for a third term as president according to unofficial ballot results, state-run TV reported.

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Musharraf has already been named winner but the official result will not be known for nearly two weeks.

However, the Supreme Court could still choose in upcoming weeks to disqualify the U.S.-backed general, effectively holding the country in political limbo in the meantime as the court decides Musharraf's presidential eligibility.

In accordance with a ruling handed down by Pakistan's Supreme Court, the election results will not be ratified until legal challenges against the election are cleared. Those court proceedings will resume October 17.

If the court rules Musharraf is ineligible to hold office as president the second runner-up will take office instead, as the constitution stipulates.

The president of Pakistan is elected in a secret ballot by the two chambers of the national parliament -- the National Assembly and Senate -- and the four provincial assemblies.

On Saturday a sizable number of parliamentarians boycotted the vote in both houses, CNN's Dan Rivers reported.

In the Senate, 58 people voted, with about 42 others abstaining. Within the national assembly, 196 members cast their vote -- meaning about 146 members aligned with the opposition have abstained as part of a nation-wide boycott -- including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

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The boycott highlighted the opposition's demand that Musharraf abandon his position as Pakistan's military chief before seeking another presidential term.

The turnout signaled a "bitter blow for Musharraf, who was hoping the PPP would indeed come out and at least take part," Rivers said shortly after lawmakers voted.

Figures from the regional assemblies were not immediately known, but Rivers reported "the probable result will be 90 percent of the (overall) votes cast (for Musharraf), but there will be few people who can see it as a credible, normal election when huge slices of a political selection have said they do not want anything to do with it."

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In addition, approximately 185 Pakistani opposition lawmakers have resigned as a sign of solidarity, but their moves are not expected to affect the vote.

Clashes broke out between police and opposition lawyers protesting the voting outside the Peshawar provincial assembly Saturday. Police said they used batons to disperse the protesters. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

-- CNN's Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report

All About Benazir BhuttoPervez MusharrafPakistan

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