Breaking the Bubble

Pakistani elections shake up parliamentThe Pakistani General Election was held Feb. 18, after having been postponed from its original Jan. 8 date. The newly elected parliament is in opposition of U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf and could hurt the focus on the war on terrorism, reported CBS News. The new government said they would stay the course with regards to the war on terror, but experts believe there might be a dilution in the country’s focus.Leaders of the opposition parties in parliament are in negotiations, but analysts believe it won’t be long until they come into conflict with Musharraf. According to the initial results, the Pakistan People Party, the party of assassinated former Prime Binister Benazir Bhutto, won the largest share of votes, and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), led by Nawaz Sharif, followed closely behind in the voting. The parties have been critical of Musharraf. President Bush said on Wednesday that Musharraf had done the right thing by holding fair elections. He hoped that he would be able to work with the new government and called the elections a victory for the Pakistani people.The friction between Musharraf and the new opposition parties is thought to have been made worse by the relationship between Musharraf and PML-N leader Sharif. Sharif was ousted from power in 1999, when Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup. Sarif called for Musharraf to step down from power, citing his defeat in the general election. The Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) closely associated with Musharraf had at least 23 ministers from its 75 member cabinet lose in their constituencies. Musharraf said on Wednesday that he would not resign from his post.Castro resigns after 49 years leading CubaCuban leader Fidel Castro, who hasn’t been seen in public since falling ill 19 months ago, told the Cuban people on Feb. 19 that he would be stepping down as president of the country he led for nearly half a century, reported BusinessWeek. Castro wrote in a statement in the official Communist Party newspaper Granma that he would neither pursue nor accept the position of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief when the National Assembly meets on Feb. 24. Castro’s brother Raul, 76, is expected to succeed him as the President of Cuba, following the path that was laid out by the resignation. The move is also expected to raise a younger generation of leaders into the spotlight.Castro has been Cuba’s president since 1976, and before that he was the prime minister since 1959, after he successfully led a revolution against then-leader Fulgencio Batista. Castro’s run as Cuba’s leader saw 10 different U.S. presidents come into the Oval Office.