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Pakistan high court rules presidential election can proceed, delays official results

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] ruled Friday that a controversial presidential election slated for October 6 in the National Assembly of Pakistan [official website] and provincial assemblies may proceed, but barred the Election Commission of Pakistan [official website] from officially declaring a winner until the high court issues a ruling on whether President Pervez Musharraf was an eligible presidential candidate. The Supreme Court of Pakistan will not be able issue a ruling until October 17 at the earliest, when it will hear legal challenges [JURIST report] filed by opposition party members challenging Musharraf's bid. Musharraf's current term expires November 15.

Opposition members argue that the Election Commission of Pakistan should not have formally accepted Musharraf's nomination [JURIST report] as a presidential candidate because of his dual role as president and army chief. The petitioners also argue that Musharraf should not be able to avoid a general election by seeking re-election from the outgoing National Assembly and provincial assemblies. On Tuesday, opposition leaders submitted the formal resignation of 85 of 342 members of the National Assembly in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the upcoming election. The Pakistani high court ruled [JURIST report] last week that Musharraf should be allowed to run for another term, but the new challenges rely on a recent rule change [press release] by the election commission affecting Musharraf's ability to run, which has not yet been directly considered by the top court. AP has more.

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