Bhutto's PPP party names candidate for Pakistani prime minister

The party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto named former parliament speaker Yousaf Raza Gilani as its candidate for Pakistan's next prime minister. Bhutto's Pakistan's People's Party won the biggest parliamentary bloc in Feb. 18 elections and is preparing to lead a new coalition government united against US-backed President Pervez Musharraf, whose supporters were routed in the polls. The party enjoys the customary right to name the prime minister because it won the most seats. Gilani was a close aide to Bhutto and spent four years in jail on allegations he abused his authority as speaker under Bhutto's second term as prime minister in the 1990s. He was freed in 2005. Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar announced his nomination at a news conference Saturday night in Islamabad. "Yousaf Raza Gilani is not afraid to lead and he knows the way," Babar said, reading a statement from Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari.