Pakistan elections: Who are the main candidates for prime minister?

This election will mark the first transfer of power from one government to another without any military interference. Here is a look at the main candidates for prime minister.

4. Raja Parvez Ashraf, Pakistan People's Party (current party in power)

Fareed Khan/AP
Pakistani men watch a TV broadcast of Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf addressing the country, at an electronic shop in Karachi, Pakistan, March 16.

Raja Parvez Ashraf was the last prime minister of Pakistan. A leader of the Bhutto family's political party, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), he became prime minister in June after the Supreme Court fired his predecessor. He has tried to stand for reelection since the beginning of April.

Yet, accused of misappropriating funds and corruption, he has been barred from running.  

Despite five difficult years at the head of a governing coalition, the PPP is thought to still have resilient support among the rural poor. Some observers believe the ruling PPP still has a strong chance at winning a large number of seats in the Parliament and influencing who is elected as prime minister, as long as Pakistan's rural landowners maintain influence and have a feudal class system in rural Pakistan, which makes up almost 70 percent of the population. 

It is not clear who will stand for prime minister if Mr. Ashraf is unable to. Analysts say that it will likely be someone from his own influential family. (Pakistan is largely run by a set of powerful families, numbering several dozen.) There has been no announcement for a replacement candidate yet.

Out of all of the major political parties vying to get their candidate in the prime minister seat, the PPP has had the most confrontations with the military, some with deadly consequences. Z.A. Bhutto, the father of Benazir Bhutto, was hanged by a military dictator and Ms. Bhutto was assassinated during military rule. 

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