It is a great start for Asif Zardari. The mandate he received in the election and political support he mustered during the process could go a long way in accomplishing his pursuit of national unity, which is also the need of the hour. As the presidential election concluded one hardly finds any bitterness or hard feeling among the political stakeholders. All the rivals of Zardari were quick to accept his victory, as is the heads of most political parties opposing Zardari in the election when the poll results made public, accepting him as the new President. This is a rare sight in Pakistan where elections, presidential or parliamentary, often leave our political system more bruised and polarised, sowing seeds of bad blood from the very start, leading to political instability in the country. This is a great personnel success of Zardari and that of his party which in real terms is bigger than the victory it achieved in February 18 elections, enabling it to form government in the center and two provinces while sharing government in the rest of the provinces. Much of Zardari's success owed to an impressive and effective campaign launched by his party at different levels. This is the very election campaign for Mr. Zardari, which in fact earned him more friends than foes. The PPP should be credited for running a very smooth presidential election campaign, which was highly political for any observer. After a long time we observed an election in which the rulers kept the administration at bay. At no time in this campaign we saw IGP or Chief Secretary being used to shift the loyalties of parliamentarians from other parties under duress. We heard no involvement of police or officials of district administration, as has been the case in most elections fought in Pakistan. Similarly, we hardly saw any use of money to win over the MPs, as most support PPP received was voluntary. The moving spirit behind this campaign was none other than the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. He traveled all parts of the country to seek vote for Zardari. His humble character helped Zardari winning more allies, which by the end of the day were instrumental in his victory. Gilani was also suitable for his campaign being more well connected in all the provinces than any other figure in the party. The Prime Minister did all he could to return the favour Zardari did to him by picking him as Prime Minister over several other aspirants in the PPP. The insiders told us that Gilani tried to reach out to all the parliamentarians and important political figures. In the process, he touched elements that were not to vote for Zardari in any circumstances. In some cases, he managed to soften the anti-PPP stances of such figures. Take the example of Pir Pagaro's PML (F), which ultimately voted for Asif Zardari in the last hour of polling in Sindh Assembly where the PPP got 100 results. Apart from prime minister everybody who is somebody in party made hectic efforts to win support for Zardari. As such the presidential campaign proved to be a unifying factor for the PPP with all anti-Zardari talk in the party evaporated. Today Zardari is considered as the most powerful President in the history of Pakistan. The powers and mandate he received from the parliament and four assemblies are even heavier than received by any military dictator, especially when we take into account the popular and political support he gained in the process. He could now flex his muscles without any difficulty. He could now hire or fire anybody he likes to and make policies and ensure their execution without any hindrance. Besides huge powers vested in him by the constitution, he is the President supported by all the political parties with few exceptions. Even PML-N and PML-Q, whose own candidates were in the race, also indirectly supported Asif Zardari. Apart from political support from major political parties, he got mandate from all the provinces except Punjab where too the PPP put up a good showing. These provinces not only voted for Zardari but also passed resolutions in favour of Zardari's credentials. Most analysts want him to share his powers with prime minister. But the real question that matters in the end and will determine future of this country is how he used these powers. He could find a place in history if he uses these powers for the betterment of people crying for change. E-mail: