It has now been made official that former cricketer Imran Khan will be Pakistan’s new Prime Minister. Khan’s party won a historic third consecutive election of a civilian government. However, he still needed an outright majority and forming a coalition was necessary.
After two long days of vote counting, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party bagged 116 of 269 seats. Meanwhile, nearest rival, Shahbaz Sharif won 64 seats for the Pakistan Muslim League. Sharif had earlier rejected the results and alleged that there was fraud and manipulation.
According to the election officials, there was a 52 per cent voter turnout this year. Tehreek-e-Insaf spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry had said that they reached out to independents and allies to form a coalition. But he confessed that the process could take several days.
“Today in front of you, in front of the people of Pakistan, I pledge I will run Pakistan in such a way as it has never before been run,” said Imran Khan. The 65-year old promised to rid Pakistan of corruption and regain national pride. He also planned to develop international relationships on the basis of respect and equality.
A number of smaller parties and independent candidates won the remaining seats in the election. Now, Khan will have to win their favour in order to form a coalition in Pakistan’s National Assembly. The Election Commission also said that vote counting was still happening in at least 20 areas of the country. In other words, the former cricketer has a chance of winning more seats but not an outright majority.
His party swept the conservative Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province. Meanwhile Bilawal Bhutto of the Pakistan People’s Party won the most seats in southern Sindh. This is truly a historic moment in Pakistan’s political history.
Many say that Khan’s charisma helped turn the tide in his favour.