Vote counting for Pakistan’s national elections concluded on Sunday with no party winning a parliamentary majority, thrusting the country into yet another political turmoil.
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Who won the Pakistan general elections? Final count here
• Independent candidates affiliated with Imran Khan’s PTI win 93 of 265 seats in the National Assembly.
• Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N wins 75 seats in the National Assembly.
• The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) wins 53 seats in the National Assembly.
• The Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), formed by Urdu-speaking people who emigrated from India during partition, won 17 seats.
• The election for a seat was postponed after the death of a candidate.
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Pakistan Election Result: What Next?
The next step involves a prime ministerial candidate demonstrating a simple majority of 169 seats in the 336-member National Assembly. The Assembly includes 70 reserved seats allocated based on the strength of each party, which complicates the final distribution of seats.
Who will form the government in Pakistan? Four scenarios
Nawaz Sharif forms coalition government
With 75 seats secured, Nawaz Sharif’s party reaches an agreement with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which has 53 seats. Together with smaller parties, they form a coalition government.
In this deal, Sharif or his brother can become prime minister, with different parties sharing crucial roles.
It is noteworthy that these two parties had governed together for 16 months until August, with Bhutto Zardari as foreign minister and Sharif’s brother Shehbaz as prime minister.
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Imran Khan’s independents win power
Imran Khan’s independent candidates, who won 93 seats, join forces with a smaller party to create a unified bloc, fulfilling the requirement of allocation of reserved seats. This move brings them closer to the majority, allowing them to propose a candidate for prime minister or negotiate support for a consensus candidate.
While Khan is not eligible for the post of prime minister, this strategy could lead to his release from jail.
The party must actively seek allies to align with Khan’s political agenda.
Bhutto Zardari’s coalition candidacy
In the absence of a clear majority, both Nawaz Sharif’s party and Imran Khan’s party require the PPP to form a government. To keep each other at bay, an agreement is reached with the PPP, positioning the young Bhutto Zardari as a candidate for prime minister.
Without consensus, army intervention:
As political uncertainty persists, no party can establish a government. The powerful Pakistani military, intervening as it has done three times before in history, steps in to restore order.
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Why are Imran Khan-backed candidates struggling to form government?
Imran Khan’s PTI faces difficulties in forming a government independently after mixed results. Nawaz Sharif has already started approaching major parties to form a coalition and received support from Pakistan’s influential military to form a unity government.
The Express Tribune quoted Ahmed Bilal Mehboob of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) as saying that the PTI seems unable to form a government independently. Mehboob explained that the PTI might need to ally with major political parties like PML-N or PPP as it lacks the numbers to win a majority in the lower house of Parliament.
He detailed what would happen if independent candidates affiliated with the PTI tried to rejoin the PTI during the three-day post-election period. According to him, it is possible, but he stressed that the process will be long. It is mandatory for the party that independent candidates wish to join to have a party symbol.
The PTI candidates stood as independents due to the directive of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of Pakistan not to use the party’s symbol, a cricket bat. Therefore, if they intend to rejoin the PTI, the party must hold intra-party elections to get its symbol back or choose a different one, Mehboob said.