Pakistan coalition to meet on new president: spokesman

ISLAMABAD, August 19, 2008 (AFP) – Leaders of Pakistan’s ruling coalition were to meet later Tuesday to discuss a replacement for President Pervez Musharraf and the fate of dozens of deposed judges, a party spokesman said.

The meeting comes a day after key US ally Musharraf resigned in the face of impeachment charges, nine years after he seized power of the nuclear-armed nation in a military coup.

“The leaders will discuss the post-Musharraf resignation issues, including the election to the presidency, the restoration of judges and the political situation,” Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for the party of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto, told AFP.

Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party is the biggest in the coalition, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-N of 1990s prime minister Nawaz Sharif and a clutch of ethnic and religious parties.

The meeting will take place at the Islamabad residence of Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto’s widower, Babar said.

Senate chairman Mohammedmian Soomro took over as acting president on Monday and will hold the office until the election of a new head of the state.

“The election of a new president must take place within 30 days of the post being vacated,” election commissi