ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s electoral commission was expected to announce the full results of a disputed election on Friday, paving the way for the winner, former cricketer Imran Khan, to begin searching for coalition partners.
Khan, during a speech declaring victory on Thursday, offered to investigate opposition claims of rigging and vowed to improve relations with neighbors India and Afghanistan, while calling for “mutually beneficial” ties with the United States.
The allegations of rigging in Wednesday’s election follow a bitter campaign
Although Khan appeared likely to fall short of the 137 seats needed for a majority in the National Assembly, his better-than-expected results mean he should have no problems forming a government with a handful of small coalition partners.
Provisional results released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday morning showed Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice party, had won 110 seats out of the 251 races where counting had ended. The National Assembly has 272 seats in total.
“(PML-N) would play the role of a strong opposition,” said Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N president and brother of Nawaz Sharif, according to the English-language Dawn newspaper.
Khan’s party also appears to succeeded in wresting control of the local assembly in Pakistan’s biggest province, Punjab, from the Sharifs, according to the incomplete results. Punjab is home to more than half of Pakistan’s 208 million people and been the power base of the Sharif family for more than three decades.
Pakistan’s election monitoring body and a team from the European Union were scheduled to deliver their assessments of the conduct of the election on Friday.—Reuters