Amidst concerns expressed by countries like the US and UK over Pakistan’s electoral processes, the country’s Army chief has congratulated the nation on ‘successfully’ carrying out polls, saying the nation needed “stable hands” to move on from the politics of “anarchy and polarization”.
So far, No clear victor has emerged yet even as vote counting nears completion. The announcement of results has been delayed beyond normal, leading to speculation about vote rigging. Both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif have declared victory. But with both parties falling short of a majority, the country is looking at a fractured mandate.
Sharif’s party has won the most seats by a single party in Thursday’s election, but supporters of imprisoned cricketer-turned-politician Khan, whose party backed independents instead of running as a single bloc, won the most seats overall, The Indian Express reported.
Sharif has said that his party is now in talks with the PPP, led by the Bhutto-Zardari family, to form a coalition government since it has failed to win a clear majority on its own.
The voting, completed on February 8, took place for a total of 265 seats in the Pakistan National Assembly, with the next Prime Minister requiring a simple majority (i.e. 169 votes) in the NA to be sworn in.
There are three main political contenders — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its key leader, former PM Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), led by Imran Khan, and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), who is projecting former Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto as the PM candidate.