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Low-Key Businessman Named Pakistan's President


Mamnoon Hussain, presidential candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, stands as he submits his nomination papers for the upcoming presidential election at the High Court in Islamabad, July 24, 2013.
Pakistani lawmakers have elected Mamnoon Hussain, a close political ally of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for the largely ceremonial post of president.

State media reports say Mr. Hussain won 277 out 311 votes in parliament Tuesday, giving him a decisive victory over his challenger, a retired Supreme Court judge, Wajihuddin Ahmed.

Hussain is a textile businessman and a former governor of the southern Sindh province. He will replace Asif Ali Zardari, whose five-year term as president is expiring.

The election was boycotted by Mr. Zardari's opposition PPP (Pakistan People's Party) after the Supreme Court granted a request by the ruling PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) party to move the election forward from August 6.

Some lawmakers said they wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage during the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Lawmakers told VOA's Urdu Service that the PPP reiterated its criticism of the rescheduling, on Tuesday, while the PML-N defended the move and said the opposition party should have approached the judiciary if it had concerns about the new date.

Analysts say the president's post makes little difference in the government because the prime minister has the most power.
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