White House lauds Pakistani election plans

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WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) The White House today lauded the announcement by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that national elections would take place before February. 15, 2008.

President George W Bush had joined Western allies and opponents in demanding that polls be held on time and emergency rule scrapped. Bush further said Musharraf must step down as head of the Army.

''We think it is a good thing that President Musharraf has clarified the election date for the Pakistani people,'' White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Pakistan had been scheduled to hold elections by mid-January until Musharraf imposed emergency powers last Saturday and suspended the constitution. Musharraf today said elections would be held before February. 15 and a decision about resigning as army chief depended on a pending ruling in Pakistan's Supreme Court.

Bush spoke with Musharraf yesterday.

REUTERS MS RK1905

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