HomePoliticsPakistan political impasse nears end as two parties agree to form government

Pakistan political impasse nears end as two parties agree to form government

Pakistan political impasse nears end as two parties agree to form government

Islamabad, PAKISTAN (EFE) – Two political parties agreed to a power sharing formula in Pakistan following the indecisive Feb. 8 polls that saw no single party securing a majority in parliament.

At a press conference in Islamabad held just before midnight, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced that his party had reached an agreement with three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to form a coalition government as they have the required seats in the National Assembly or lower house of the parliament.

READ MORE : Pakistan election left no clear winner. So who is likely to govern and what happens next?

“The numbers of Pakistan Peoples Party and Muslim League-Nawaz have been completed and God willing, we are going to form the government,” said Bhutto-Zardari, accompanied by Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s brother.

“It is hoped that God willing, Shehbaz Sharif will soon become the prime minister of the country once again,” he added.

Shehbaz thanked the PPP for its support for the formation of the government.

“We have unanimously decided that the name of Asif Ali Zardari (father of Bhutto-Zardari) will be presented for the President of the country,” he said.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif attends the meeting in narrow format of the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Heads of State Council (SCO-HSC) Summit, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 16 September 2022. EFE-EPA/SERGEI BOBYLEV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT

In response to a question, Shahbaz said that the PPP had not asked for any ministries, meaning it would not become part of the government but would support the PML-N candidate for the premiership.

“Political parties have differences but we have been able to establish a consensus,” he added.

No political party secured a simple majority in the rececntly held elections, forcing parties to join hands to come into power, but a lack of a consensus had resulted in a political impasse.

Both PPP and the PML-N had held several rounds of talks on a power-sharing formula over the past few days.

Independent candidates backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party secured the maximum seats (92).

To form a government, a party must win 133 out of the 265 contested seats in the 266-member lower house, which has 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims.

The election on one seat was not conducted.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has also agreed to support PML-N with their 17 seats.

The PTI has allied with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) to ensure it gets the required numbers of reserved seats in the NA and provincial assemblies.

The party was banned from contesting the elections as a party by the country’s Supreme Court.

All the three parties, PML-N, PPP and MQM-P, have been in a coalition government for over 16 months after Khan was ousted from power in April 2022.

Although the agreement has ended the political impasse regarding the formation of the government, clouds still hover over the ongoing political stability as the PTI has announced that it would legally fight to get the seats it claims were stolen by vote-rigging.

Over the weekend, the party held nationwide protests against what it said was “the mother of all riggings” in the recent elections.

Following the 2013 elections, the Khan-led PTI held a continuous sit-in for 126 days in front of the parliament in Islamabad.

Khan, who is in jail facing at least three sentences, has waged an unprecedented campaign of defiance against the country’s powerful military which has directly ruled the country for over three decades.

The military also has an oversized role in governmental affairs even when not in power.

The PTI has refused to share power with PML-N and the PPP calling them “stooges” of the military.

The PML-N bagged 75 seats in the National Assembly while the PPP managed to grab 54 seats, according to official results.

According to Pakistan’s constitution, a session of parliament has to be called by Feb. 29 after which a vote for the new prime minister will take place. EFE

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