Pakistan's ruling party has nominated Raja Pervez Ashraf for prime minister after a court issued an arrest warrant for its first choice. Ashraf himself had a shaky go during his tenure as water and power minister.
"Raja Pervez Ashraf is our candidate," senior party official Syed Khurshid Shah told a news conference, hinting that the government could call an election before its mandate expires early next year.
"This is election year and we are going towards elections," Shah added. "If we have committed some mistakes or did not fulfill our manifesto, then the decision should be left to the people of Pakistan."
Ashraf had most recently served as information technology minister, until Tuesday, when the Supreme Court dismissed the sitting prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani. Makhdoom Shahbuddin, the former textiles minister and the ruling party's previous pick, was forced out of his bid for the job when an anti-narcotics court slapped a charge on him in a move that some analysts suspect may have been orchestrated by the military.
Ashraf could deepen Pakistanis frustrations with the government. As the water and power minister, he was seen by many as yet another senior official who had failed to ease a crippling energy crisis that had triggered violent protests.
The lower house of parliament has been summoned to vote on the new prime minister this afternoon.
mkg/rg (Reuters, AFP, AP)