ISLAMABAD – The PPP maintained its hold on the top executive slot of the country as its candidate Raja Pervez Asharaf was elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.The runner-up, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi of the PML-N, lost with 89 votes. JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, the third candidate, withdrew his candidacy as the national assembly session began Friday evening for electing the 25th prime minster of the country. “Raja Pervez Ashraf is declared to be elected as prime minister of the Islamic republic of Pakistan,” Speaker Fehmida Mirza announced after the counting of votes as MNAs showered rose petals on Raja.The PM-elect, who was congratulated by his colleagues and his party boss President Asif Ali Zardari, took oath of his office along with his federal cabinet at the presidency later Friday night.Voting for the PM began at 6:45pm. Those members voting in favour of Raja Pervez Ashraf were asked to proceed to Lobby A (right side of the speaker) and those in favour of Mehtab Abbasi to Lobby B (on the left side). Faisal Saleh Hayat of the PML-Q was the last MNA to cast a vote. Faisal, who earlier said he will not be a minister if Raja Pervez Ashraf becomes the prime minister and refused to vote for him, however, voted for Raja on the request of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.Sources claimed that Pervaiz Elahi will be made a senior minister, and he will be the only PML-Q member to take oath as a minister.Before the voting, PML-Likeminded leader Humayan Akhtar announced that six Likeminded members will not attend the NA session. Chaudhry Nisar announced that PML-N had support of five Likeminded members, adding that the party will try its best to win the elections. A PPP MNA Syed Nasir Ali Shah said he will boycott the session.Earlier today, negotiations between the PML-N and the JUI-F over the nomination of a new PM ended futile. A PML-N delegation met with JUI-F chief Fazalur Rehman at his residence in a bid to persuading him into supporting Mehtab Abbasi.But Fazl said: “Considering the political situation of the country, he wanted that both the opposition and the government should have an agreement on the candidate for the premier’s office.” “That is why I filed my nomination papers,” he added.When Fazal withdrew his candidacy during the NA session, PML-N members apparently targeted him chanting: “What was the price?”Before the parliamentary session, the PPP and its coalition partners held a meeting. After the meeting PPP’s Syed Khurshid Shah confirmed Raja’s nomination, he conceded that the government was heading towards an election. Its five-year mandate expires in early 2013. “If we have committed some mistakes or did not fulfill our manifesto, then the decision should be left to the people of Pakistan,” he had said.Share this:Following the Supreme Court’s dismissal of Yousuf Raza Gilani as premier, Raja Ashraf was not a preferred choice of the PPP and her allies for the replacement. He was rather thrown up to the top echelon by the thrust of an upset – the issuance of arrest warrants for their first unanimously agreed candidate, Makhdoom Shahabuddin.Besides being controversial among the political circles, the former water and power minster is deeply unpopular among the people because he is believed to be mainly responsible for PPP-led government’s failure in resolving the major national issue of power shortage. Moreover, he is facing a corruption case from his tenure as water and power minister over his alleged role in RPPs scam, which has earned him the name – Rental Raja.The PPP government, dogged by corruption allegations, has been locked in a stand-off with the judiciary for years, accused of working behind the scenes with the military and the political opposition. The change in premier is likely to ease little of Pakistan’s myriad problems, not least appalling power cuts that enrage millions or a stalemate in US relations that have led to a seven-month blockade on Nato supplies into Afghanistan.The PM-elect though said his focus was the power crisis, which he promised to resolve despite having a poor track record while at the power ministry from March 2008 to February 2011. “Our first priority will be to resolve the power crisis… I hope soon we will find a solution,” he said.The new PM may also come under immediate pressure from the Supreme Court to write to Swiss authorities, asking them to reopen corruption investigations into President Asif Ali Zardari – refusal for which saw Gilani convicted of contempt.