Pakistan Election Results: What happens if no party is able to form govt? A look at possible scenarios

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Although Independent candidates backed by Imran Khan Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are leading the race, their “symbol-less” party will not be able to form the new government independently.

So, what happens if no party is able to form govt in Pakistan?

In that case, Pakistan’s army, the most powerful and organised force in the country, may step in to restore order and take power as it has done thrice before in the country’s 76-year history, Reuters reported.

The last time the country was ruled by the army was when in 1999, when then Army chief General Pervaiz Musharraf had overthrown Sharif’s government. Pakistan has spent several decades under military rule (1958–1971, 1977–1988, 1999–2008).

As of now, the current army chief has already called on political parties to show “maturity and unity”.

ALSO READ: EVM vs ballot paper: Pakistan’s ‘rigged’, delayed results a lesson for India?

Who’s in line to form new Pakistan govt? 3 possible scenarios

1. Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif strike deal for coalition govt

Nawaz Sharif’s party PML-N, which reportedly won 74 seats, may strike a deal with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which won 53 seats. They, along with other parties like MQM-P, PML-Q and IPP, may pull together a majority in Parliament.

However, the situation doesn’t seem smooth for this possible coalition as the PPP has reportedly put forth a condition before Nawaz Sharif’s party over forming a coalition government. 

According to Geo TV, the condition on which the PPP agreed to make a coalition government with the PML-N was that Bilawal will be made the PM. Meanwhile, the MQM-P denied holding any talks on coalition during a meeting with the PML-N delegation in Karachi.

The PML-N and the PPP were in government together for 16 months till August, with Bhutto Zardari as foreign minister and Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shehbaz as prime minister.

ALSO READ: Pakistan Elections: A look at challenges awaiting new govt

2. Bhutto Zardari head coalition govt

While Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan’s candidates won the most seats, no party can form government without the PPP. With both looking to keep the other out of power, the PPP strikes a deal to make the young Bhutto Zardari prime minister.

3. Imran Khan’s independents rise to power

Independent candidates cannot announce their prime minister candidate or form a government. They have to follow procedures to do so.

Independent candidates backed by Imran Khan’s party, who won 93 seats, may join a smaller party in Parliament in order to form a single bloc to fulfil a requirement for them to be allocated reserved seats. This would help them form a majority and allow them to put up a candidate for prime minister.

They can also strike a deal with other parties to support a consensus candidate, which also means Khan’s supporters are in power, and can push to have their jailed leader released under an agreement. Imran Khan himself is not eligible to become prime minister. The party will have to push hard for allies to align with Khan’s politics.

Meanwhile Waseem Qadir, the PTI-backed candidate who won from Lahore’s NA-121 constituency, has alsready joined the Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N. According to Pakistan election rule as cited by Dawn, independent candidates will have three days following the notification of their victory to join a party.

Leaders of the PTI contested polls as independent candidates after Pakistan’s Supreme Court and the Election Commission said they couldn’t use the party symbol — a cricket bat.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 11 Feb 2024, 08:37 PM IST

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