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Friday, March 27, 2009

In Our Larger Interest? Or a Pact With the Devil? By Cyril Almeida

The second reason is tactical. The country is slipping towards a generation or more of a deeply fragmented electorate. Give the devil his due, Zardari has managed to cobble together a relatively strong majority in the National Assembly and the Senate. It falls short of a two-thirds majority, but with the support of the PMLs, both the N-League and the Q-League, constitutional change is within grasp.

The next configuration in parliament may not be so amenable to a two-thirds majority on any issue. More likely will be coalition governments with smaller majorities and bickering partners and with oppositions going for the kill from day one. In that environment, the presently much-reviled powers of the president will be highly prized for they will circumvent a rabid, noisome parliament.

So we should wish Sharif well in getting Zardari to cave. But not because he is a hero. Far from it. Simply that Sharif’s self-interest today may be good for the interests of the rest of us tomorrow.


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