Musharraf pledged to hold provincial and parliamentary elections in October 2002. In a bid to secure his position as president, a title he had adopted in 2001, Musharraf called a referendum in April 2002 on extending his presidency for five years. The referendum returned a majority of votes in favor of the proposal, although low voter turnout, loose voting rules, and the absence of poll monitors tainted the results. In addition, political parties denounced the referendum because under the constitution, the president is to be selected by members of the national and provincial legislatures.
In August Musharraf decreed 29 amendments to
In the October elections, no single party or coalition of parties won a majority of seats in the National Assembly (lower house). The Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam), a new PML faction formed prior to the elections as a pro-Musharraf party, won the largest number of seats. However, pro-democracy opposition parties and hardline Islamic parties also made a strong showing in the election. The second largest number of seats went to Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which led the 15-party