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President Pervez Musharraf's candidate was elected prime minister Thursday, easily defeating a pro-Taliban candidate in a signal that Pakistan will keep supporting the U.S.-led war against terrorism.

Parliament's election of Zafarullah Khan Jamali to lead the first civilian government since Musharraf's bloodless 1999 coup relegated a coalition of hard-line Islamic parties to opposition benches, where they likely will be fierce critics of the pro-U.S. stance.

The vote paves the way for formation of a coalition government of the pro-army faction of Jamali's Pakistan Muslim League, dissident members of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's party and independent members of parliament.

Jamali, 58, made clear that Pakistan will continue supporting the fight against terror.

Jamali received 172 votes in the 342-member National Assembly, or lower house of parliament.

Fazlur Rahman, an Islamist leader who openly supported the Taliban and has said he wants to curb Pakistan's alliance with America, received 86 votes.

Shah Mahmood Quereshi, of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, received 70. His candidacy hurt Rahman, who expected support from Bhutto's party.

Jamali will be sworn in by Musharraf on Saturday.

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