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Archive for Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bhutto’s party considers candidates

February 23, 2008

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— A veteran politician with a reputation as a consensus builder emerged Friday as the favorite to become Pakistan's next prime minister under an agreement by the two biggest opposition parties to form a new government together.

Leaders of the Pakistan People's Party - once led by assassinated ex-premier Benazir Bhutto - conferred Friday behind closed doors in Islamabad to discuss its choice to lead the next government after the new parliament convenes, probably next month.

No final decision was made, but party officials and political analysts said the front-runner was veteran politician Makhdoom Amin Fahim, 68, a longtime Bhutto loyalist from Sindh province who turned down Musharraf's offer of the premiership in 2002.

Other possible nominees included Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a top People's Party figure from Punjab province, and former National Assembly speaker Yousuf Raza Gilani, party officials and analysts said.

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