Pakistan Vote to Be Delayed at Least 4 Weeks

Many election offices damaged in violence; PPP opposes setback
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2007 8:05 AM CST
Residents of Karachi, Pakistan, walk under election banners and posters for slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's political party Sunday Dec. 30, 2007. Members of the party have said they intend to...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Pakistan's January 8 election will be postponed by at least 4 weeks, "if not more," because of violence in the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, election officials tell AFP. The election commission recommended a delay, but won't specify a date until tomorrow. Bhutto's party opposes postponement on grounds that a delay would help opponents such as Nawaz Sharif, who, for the same reason, accepts a delay.

Officials cite damage to more than 40 election offices in Bhutto's troubled home province alone, missing staffers, and lagging ballot printing. The date will come after the commission consults  with major parties and hearing damage reports from provinces. After days of rioting brought much of the country to a standstill, life in major cities is almost back to normal today, AFP reports, with shops beginning to open and vehicles on streets.