Patterico's Pontifications

12/30/2007

Bhutto’s Son will Succeed Her as Head of PPP

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 2:03 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Sounding more like a monarchy than a political party, the Pakistan People’s Party has announced that Benazir Bhutto’s 19-year-old son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will succeed her as head of the PPP:

“The teeenage son of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto will succeed her as the leader of the country’s largest democratic party, Pakistan People’s Party, the party announced today.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 19, assumed not just a new political position, but also a new name to include his mother’s last name, a reminder of his tie to the political dynasty that began with his grandfather. He is now the leader — at least nominally — of the largest political party in this turbulent nuclear nation.

The televised news conference held in the Bhuttos’ ancestral home of Naudero, Larkana, was a bizarre and unprecedented spectacle to secure the future of Pakistan’s most prominent political dynasty. When it was announced that the 19-year-old would be the party’s new leader, the crowd erupted in cheers, chanting, “Long live Bhutto.”

The transfer was named in Benazir Bhutto’s Will. Bilawal is not expected to be the Party’s candidate for Prime Minister:

“Benazir Bhutto, the slain former Pakistani prime minister, names her 19-year-old son Bilawal as her successor and the new leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party in her will, and her husband Asif Ali Zardari is expected to act as a kind of regent to him until he comes of age, a close family friend who has read the will told NEWSWEEK on Saturday.

Neither Bilawal nor Zardari, however, is expected to be named as the prime ministerial candidate of the PPP, the friend said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. That honor will go to a senior official, although it is not believed to be Amin Fahim, the vice chairman of the party who served as interim leader during Bhutto’s eight-year exile.”

Bilawal is a first-year student at Oxford. He will follow his mother as head of the PPP, just as she succeeded her father as leader-in-exile of the Party he created:

“Bilawal, who enrolled as a student at Oxford University only this year, is scheduled to read the will himself at a party gathering on Sunday. There is little doubt that he will be accepted by the party rank and file; the PPP has been an all-family affair in Pakistan’s dynastic politics since Benazir Bhutto’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founded it 40 years ago. Bhutto had given herself the title of “chairperson for life” and her only previous public signal as to who she wanted her political heir to be occurred when she sent Bilawal to register to vote for the first time earlier this year.”

In related news, Pakistani election officials will decide tomorrow whether to go forward with the January 8 election. Rioting destroyed polling places and voter registration rolls in 11 districts, and there were security fears in other locations.

The US State Department encouraged Pakistan to go forward with the elections or to name a specific date for elections to be held.

— DRJ

13 Responses to “Bhutto’s Son will Succeed Her as Head of PPP”

  1. This is one of many reasons why I didn’t much respect Benazir Bhutto — she never bothered preparing a serious successor in the extremely likely even of her death.

    “The US State Department encouraged Pakistan to go forward with the elections or to name a specific date for elections to be held.”

    God damn I hate your state department.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. *event

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  3. Imagine being this kid’s roommate at Oxford. Hell, even being at Oxford while that kid is there is probably dangerous.

    JVW (13af87)

  4. Its a dynasty of entitlement – just like the Clinton’s.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  5. Unlike the Bush dynasty of entitlement.

    steve (6d6e85)

  6. …names her 19-year-old son Bilawal as her successor and the new leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party in her will, and her husband Asif Ali Zardari is expected to act as a kind of regent to him until he comes of age…

    How cute, just like Bill will be Hillary’s regent until Hillary come of age — in the seventh and half year of her Presidency.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  7. It’s not very democratic because Bhutto was never much of a democrat. Remember how she came anywhere near power in the first place – she inherited the PPP from her father (who was hanged for murder, and I have no reason to believe he wasn’t guilty). Her own administration was rife with corruption – her husband, who is now a sort of regent for her son, was known as “Mr Ten Percent”. It’s been beyond me for years why the USA has been boosting her, why it pushed Musharraf into bringing her back from a well-deserved exile.

    PS: I wonder how many people, on hearing of the Bhutto assassination, wondered whether perhaps Musharraf had been justified in calling a State of Emergency after all, and whether perhaps he ended it too hastily under USA pressure. Not too many, I suppose.

    Milhouse (f10fb3)

  8. I did, Milhouse.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  9. Milhouse: Add me to that list.

    Old Coot (2f9910)

  10. While he is at Oxford, I suppose he should drop by his tailor on Saville Row for some new suits. Ones with concentric circles on the back should do just fine.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  11. “Its a dynasty of entitlement – just like the Clinton’s.”

    Yeah. See how far he has gone on his parent’s success.

    stef (e66d8d)

  12. This is how the world works. I’d rather Pakistan vote on one family or the other. It’s better than nothing.

    And Clinton is the most competent candidate fielded by the dems. She’s as qualified as Edwards or Obama or Fred. She’s not as qualified as W, the reelected governor of a bipartisan Texas, but she’s not just a dynasty candidate. She’s a symbol and a force of her own, and she was one very early in the Clinton presidency.

    I wouldn’t vote for Hillary except in the most dire of circumstances, but I think it’s quite silly to compare the corrupt family succession in places like Pakistan with Clinton’s campaign.

    She’s a symbol of a party that will have to fight very hard against the GOP. And Bush has had to fight very hard to keep his job. This is democracy, and it’s not perfect but it’s ok.

    Jem (9e390b)


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