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PPP to name prime minister in March

world Updated: Feb 24, 2008 01:07 IST

AFP
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Pakistan’s new government will likely name its prime minister in early March, party officials said on Saturday, as supporters of key US ally President Pervez Musharraf vowed not to obstruct the coalition.

The two biggest parties to emerge after Monday’s parliamentary election have been weighing their choice for premier after agreeing to form a coalition.

Officials from both parties said the frontrunner was Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the widely respected vice president of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

“There is an agreement that Fahim should be the parliamentary leader and candidate for PM but the announcement is unlikely to be made public before the parliament is convened into session, most probably in the first week of March,” a senior PPP official, who did not want to be named, said.

If the coalition can woo some smaller parties and muster a two-thirds majority, they could move to impeach Musharraf. Analysts say the retired general is in the most precarious position since he seized power in a 1999 coup.

Pro-Musharraf party leaders met in Islamabad on Saturday for the first time since their electoral defeat.

“We will play a constructive, positive, vibrant and active role as opposition and will not obstruct the working of the new government,” said Mushahid Hussain, secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q.

Sharif and Zardari announced their parties would join forces after trouncing Musharraf’s allies in the ballot. The two camps, once bitter rivals, have agreed that the PPP would designate the next prime minister.