India Born Mamnoon Hussain Likely To Replace Zardari

ISLAMABAD  - Mamnoon Hussain, a veteran Pakistani politician and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's trusted ally, is expected to win next week's presidential election after being nominated by the ruling party as a candidate in the largely ceremonial vote.

Ousted in a bloodless military coup in 1999, Sharif swept back into power in a May 11 general election that marked the first transition between civilian governments in a country ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history.

Traditionally presidents have been figureheads in Pakistan although incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari, whose term expires in September, wielded considerable influence under the previous administration.

Hussain, an active member of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party since the 1960s, is seen as the front-runner to replace Zardari in the July 30 vote.

"The president is meant to be nonpartisan, the whole country's president," Hussain told reporters outside the Islamabad High Court where he submitted his nomination papers on Wednesday. "God willing, I will be every Pakistani's president."

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