Bhutto party announces PM candidate

PPP nominates Yousaf Raza Gilani, a former Pakistan national assembly speaker.

    Gilani is all but guaranteed to win the vote with the support of his party and its coalition allies [AFP]

    Earlier the MQM, a party that supports Musharraf, withdrew its candidate for prime minster, calling the move a "goodwill gesture" and paving the way for a PPP candidate to stand unopposed.
     
    Coalition leader
     
    There had been speculation the PPP would nominate a stop-gap prime minister until Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's husband and the party leader becomes eligible to stand for the post by contesting a by-election in May.
     
    Zardari is currently ineligible to stand as he is not a member of parliament.
     
    Gilani was the "consensus" candidate of the coalition, a statement said, read out to reporters in Islamabad by Farhatullah Babar, the PPP spokesman.
     
    "I have great pleasure in calling upon Yousaf Raza Gilani in the name of the martyr Benazir Bhutto to accept the heavy responsibility to lead the coalition government and the nation," Zardari said in the statement.
     
    Analysts said the Gilani's appointment, a low-key Bhutto loyalist, was likely to add to speculation Zardari would seek to become prime minister.
     
    "It's not a nomination you'd expect for a five-year term," said Masooda Bano, a political analyst.
     
    "He's proved his loyalty but even in the public mind he doesn't have that strong a presence."
     
    "Acceptable to everyone"
     
    But Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said Gillani, who comes from the Punjab region, could be a consensus candidate.
     
    "This could be a man who is acceptable to everyone. He also hails for the country's most powerful province [the Punjab]."
     
    He added the move could be used by the PPP to "improve its standing in the province".
     
    The naming of a candidate had been stalled for weeks, fueling the speculation that Zardari wanted the job for himself.
     
    He shares control of the PPP with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his son, who recently returned to Pakistan for a short break from Britain where he is studying.
     
    The 19-year-old was appointed after his mother's assassination on December 27 but said he will complete his studies at Oxford University before entering politics.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    Canada: Attack on girl wearing hijab 'did not happen'

    Canada: Attack on girl wearing hijab 'did not happen'

    Toronto police announce hate crime investigation concluded after evidence shows cutting of girl's hijab didn't occur.

    New Boko Haram video purports to show Chibok girls

    Boko Haram video purports to show seized Chibok girls

    Girl appearing in footage says the abductees are safe, live g in comfort and do not want to be rescued.