The counting of votes for the national election in Pakistan concluded on Sunday without any party securing a parliamentary majority, pushing the country into another political turmoil.
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Who won in Pakistan general election? Final tally here
• Independent candidates affiliated with Imran Khan’s PTI secure 93 out of 265 National Assembly seats.
• Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N wins 75 seats in the National Assembly.
• Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) secures 53 seats in the National Assembly.
• Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) of Urdu-speaking people who migrated from India during partition, got 17 seats.
• Election to one seat was postponed after the death of a candidate.
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Pakistan election result: What’s 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 each party’s strength, complicating the final seat distribution.
Who will form the government in Pakistan? Four scenarios
Nawaz Sharif forms coalition government
With 75 seats secured, Nawaz Sharif’s party strikes a deal with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which holds 53 seats. Together with smaller parties, they form a coalition government.
In this arrangement, either Sharif or his brother may become the prime minister, and crucial roles are shared among different parties.
It’s noteworthy that these two parties had previously governed together for 16 months until August, with Bhutto Zardari as the foreign minister and Sharif’s brother, Shehbaz, as the prime minister.
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Imran Khan’s independents gain power
Imran Khan’s independent candidates, securing 93 seats, join forces with a smaller party to create a unified bloc, meeting the requirement for reserved seats allocation. This move inches them closer to a majority, enabling them to propose a prime ministerial candidate or negotiate support for a consensus candidate.
While Khan is ineligible for the prime minister position, 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 bid
In the absence of a clear majority, both Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan’s parties require the PPP to form a government. To keep each other at bay, a deal is struck with the PPP, positioning the young Bhutto Zardari as the prime ministerial candidate.
No consensus, army intervention:
As political uncertainty persists, no party can establish a government. The powerful Pakistan army, intervening as it has done thrice before in history, steps in to restore order.
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Why do Imran Khan-backed candidates struggle to form government?
Imran Khan’s PTI is facing difficulties in independently forming the government after hung results. Nawaz Sharif has already started reaching out to major parties for a coalition, and he received support from the influential Pakistan Army for a unity government.
The Express Tribune quoted Ahmed Bilal Mehboob from the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), saying that PTI appears unable to form a government independently. Mehboob explained that PTI might need to ally with major political parties like PML-N or PPP since it lacks the required numbers for a majority in the lower house of Parliament.
He detailed what would occur if PTI-affiliated independent candidates seek to rejoin PTI during the three-day post-election period. According to him, it is possible, but he emphasised that the process would be lengthy. It is mandatory for the party that independent candidates wish to join to have a party symbol.
PTI candidates contested as independents due to the Supreme Court and Election Commission of Pakistan’s directive not to use the party symbol, a cricket bat. Therefore, if they aim to rejoin PTI, the party must conduct intra-party elections to regain its symbol or choose a different one, Mehboob said.
(Inputs from wires)