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Asif Ali Zardari elected new president of Pakistan

Pakistani lawmakers on Saturday elected Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairman of center-left Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), as the country’s 14th president, report agencies.

Zardari, 68, the widower of the two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the candidate of the ruling coalition, defeated Mahmood Khan Achakzai, a veteran politician from the southwestern Balochistan province, and a candidate of the opposition Sunni Ittehad Council, a religiopolitical group and new home to lawmakers belonging to jailed ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Some small political parties, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) and Jamaat-e-Islami, boycotted the election and no MP from these parties cast their votes.

The voting started at 10 a.m. local time (0500GMT) at the National Assembly building in Islamabad and all four provincial capitals and continued until 4 p.m. (1100GMT).

Zardari is the only politician elected to the country’s highest, yet symbolic, constitutional office for a second term.

He previously served as the president in 2008-2013 during the government of his own party.