Monday, December 31, 2007

Bhutto's son, husband to be co-leaders of party: NAUDERO, Pakistan — Benazir Bhutto's 19-year-old son was chosen Sunday to succeed her as chairman of her opposition party, while her husband will serve as co-chairman, extending Pakistan's most famous political dynasty to another generation.

The party also decided to contest upcoming elections, apparently ending the threat of a wholesale boycott by Pakistan's political opposition as the key U.S.-ally struggles to transition to full democracy after years of military rule.

The decision was made at a closed meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party central executive committee, three days after the two-time prime minister was assassinated in a suicide attack.

It catapults Bilawal Zardari, an Oxford University student with no political experience, to the centre of Pakistan's tumultuous public life.

Every time Pakistan has a chance to do something right, it manages to do the complete opposite. Keeping power within the Bhutto dynasty is befitting of a monarchy, not a political party. Maybe the PPP has no other viable candidate, I don't know enough to say, but to the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis who don't belong to the Bhutto quasi-cult, this is a great step forward for the country's civilian aristocracy, not democracy. It is not true, as one analyst said in yesterday's Globe, that Pakistan can't be governed, but that no one seems to bother trying.

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