Pakistan's National Assembly has been convened on Friday to elect a new Prime Minister with the name of outgoing Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin emerging as the main contender for the post.
President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also co-Chairman of ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), today held several rounds of talks with senior members of his party and allies like PML-Q to build a consensus on a name that will be acceptable to the fractious coalition.
PPP Parliamentary Party also met to discuss possible names for the post of Prime Minister which fell vacant following Supreme Court's order disqualifying Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt.
The party insiders said that senior leader Shahabuddin has emerged as a front runner in the race.
PPP leader Khursheed Shah, who was Religious Affairs Minister in Gilani's cabinet, told reporters that a session of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament will be convened at 5. 30 pm on Friday to elect the new premier.
Nomination papers for the election will be filed tomorrow, Shah said.
President Zardari will choose the party's candidate for the post of premier, he said.
Besides Shahabuddin, others who are being considered for the post include former Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Samina Ghurki, a PPP leader from Lahore whose late husband was a close aide of Zardari.
"The next prime minister will be elected by the national assembly. He will be a member of parliament. He will be a nice person and loyal to the party," Gilani's lawyer and PPP member Aitzaz Ahsan told reporters.