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“He is a cynical choice by the PPP. Whoever takes over as prime minister will be in for a very short time,” said Raza Rumi, director of the Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute. “Obviously the PPP will not choose its best for this stint. They will choose people who can be dispensed with.”

When Shah was asked about the corruption allegations against the new candidate, he said allegations are leveled against many people, but no charges have ever been proven against Ashraf.

The political jockeying for power likely means Pakistan’s more weighty problems will fall off the agenda until a new government is established. The country’s economy is in shambles. The military is fighting a violent insurgency in the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan. In many parts of the country, residents receive only a few hours of electricity a day, setting off riots earlier this week.

Pakistan and U.S. relations are also at an all-time low. The U.S. accuses Pakistan of not going after insurgent groups operating in its tribal areas while Pakistan says the U.S. doesn’t give it credit for the losses it has suffered fighting al-Qaida and other militants.

Pakistan closed U.S. and NATO supply routes going through Pakistan into Afghanistan after American forces accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops on the border. Pakistan refuses to open the routes without an American apology.