February 20, 2008democracyelectionsForeign AffairsPakistanpolitics

Pakistan’s next prime minister

Will be remote controlled

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The day after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination The Acorn wrote:

There are two front-runners, as of now, and one wild-card. The PML (Q)’s Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, former chief minister of Punjab province and Makhdoom Ameen Fahim, Benazir Bhutto’s deputy and caretaker leader of the PPP all these years, have the best shot at the post of prime minister. The wild-card, of course, is Aitzaz Ahsan, a member of the PPP, but too closely identified with the lawyer’s struggle for the restoration of the sacked chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. [What’s next for Pakistan]

This still holds. Though their parties came out on top of the league tables in Monday’s elections, neither Nawaz Sharif nor Asif Ali Zardari were candidates in the election. Now, for the moment at least, neither of the two can become prime minister. (Perhaps they can, this being Pakistan, but let’s not get cynical today). They’ll go for remote-control.

Mr Fahim should be the front-runner. He appears remote-controllable. After the drubbing his party got in these elections, Mr Elahi’s chances are now much lower. The wild card, Mr Ahsan, is Mr Sharif’s nominee for prime minister. But he’s too popular and too independent-minded to be remote controlled. So that’ll work against him.

The money is on Makhdoom Mohammed Amin Fahim.

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