Pakistan Elections: PML-N and PPP reach agreement on coalition government

  • By Sean Seddon and Farhat Javed, BBC Urdu
  • BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

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The Pakistan Muslim League failed to win the elections of last February 8, but it reached an agreement to return it to power.

Two political parties in Pakistan have reached a formal agreement to form a new government after elections mired in controversy.

They jointly announced that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) will get support from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the new administration.

Both parties won fewer seats than candidates loyal to jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan on February 8.

In X programme, Khan's PTI party described the coalition as “mandate thieves”.

His movement says the elections were rigged to keep his supporters out of power.

“The goal of the alliance is to address the economic crisis in the country,” said Bilawal Bhutto Zardaru, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Former Prime Minister and PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif pledged “collective action to confront economic and other challenges.”

The agreement means Sharif is on track to become prime minister for a second time with the support of the junior coalition partner, while Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party will be the coalition's candidate to become president – a position he has held before.

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Former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is on his way back to office after reaching a deal with a smaller party

The process of electing the prime minister involves a parliamentary vote expected by the end of February. Separate elections will be held to determine the next president in the coming weeks.

It is still unclear who will take over other major government positions.

The controversial parliamentary elections that took place earlier this month failed to reach a decisive result.

Despite Mr Khan being behind bars and his candidates being forced to run as independents rather than under a single banner, candidates backed by his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party emerged as the largest single bloc in a shock result.

However, their 93 seats in the National Assembly fell short of the 169-seat general majority needed to form a government.

This paved the way for the Pakistan Muslim League, led by another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to enter into negotiations with the Pakistan Peoples Party.

The PML-N won 75 seats, while the PPP came in third with 54 seats – but with potential support from smaller parties and once seats reserved for women and representatives of religious minorities are distributed, the coalition partners will have enough support in parliament to govern.

The PTI is challenging the result in the courts, and its supporters have been holding protests across the country.

Social media has been down across the country in recent days amid the protests. Internet access monitoring group NetBlocks said access to X – formerly Twitter – remained restricted for many on Tuesday.

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