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Archive for Sunday, June 27, 2004

Briefly

June 27, 2004

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Pakistan

Prime minister resigns, dissolves Cabinet

Pakistan's prime minister stepped down and ordered his Cabinet dissolved Saturday after months of speculation over his worsening relationship with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the nation's ultimate power broker.

Zafarullah Khan Jamali announced his decision at a meeting of his PML-Q party. Party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, a military loyalist from one of the country's most influential families, was nominated to replace him.

Jamali's resignation raised questions about the pace of this nation's return to democracy five years after Musharraf's bloodless coup in 1999.

But the change was unlikely to dramatically alter Pakistan's commitment to either the U.S.-led war on terror or fledgling peace talks with nuclear rival India -- matters that are firmly in Musharraf's hands.

Czech Republic

Leader says he'll resign

Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said Saturday he would resign later this week after barely surviving a no-confidence vote by his party, which fared poorly in recent elections for the European Parliament.

Spidla also stepped down as chief of the governing Social Democratic Party, which leads a three-party coalition that has a one-vote majority in the lower house of parliament.

"If I don't have the support of my own party, I can hardly be prime minister with a one-vote majority," Spidla said.

Ottawa

Liberal Party in danger of losing majority

Embarrassed by financial scandal and hard-pressed by a newly united conservative opposition, Canada's Liberal Party heads into national elections Monday in grave danger of losing the parliamentary majority it has held since 1993.

The final batch of opinion polls suggest that both the Liberals, headed by Prime Minister Paul Martin, and the Conservative Party will fall short of an outright majority of the House of Commons' 308 seats.

In that case, the party with the most seats would face the task of forming a minority government by wooing smaller parties into potentially awkward and shifting alliances.

The last minority government was in 1979; it lasted only six months.

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