It remains to be seen what the reaction to this will be. I wonder whether this date was cleared with the main opposition parties. Six weeks seems to be about the limit that the opposition parties might accept. This should be plenty of time for things to cool down and to allow the government to prepare properly for the elections.
Pakistan delays election to Feb. 18
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | 8:02 AM ET
Pakistani officials announced Wednesday that the parliamentary election planned for next week will be postponed by nearly six weeks to Feb. 18.
Qazi Mohammed Farooq, head of the election commission, talks to the media during a news conference at the electoral commission building in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday.
(Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)
The election was originally slated for Jan. 8, but Qazi Mohammed Farooq, head of Pakistan's election commission, said it would be impossible to hold it on that day because of the chaos following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
"For a few days the election process came to a complete halt," he told reporters at a news conference. At least 10 election offices were burned and the printing of ballots was halted during the days of unrest following Bhutto's death that left at least 58 dead.
Farooq said the commission decided to delay the vote until after the holy month of Muharram, which runs from Jan. 10 to Feb. 8.