Allies of former Prime Minister Imran Khan win the largest share of seats in the final result of the Pakistani elections
Allies of jailed former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan won more seats in national elections than the political parties that ousted him from power nearly two years ago, according to final results published Sunday.
Last Thursday’s vote to choose a new parliament was overshadowed by allegations of vote rigging, unprecedented cell phone shutdowns, and the exclusion of Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party from the vote.
Members of the PTI party contested the elections as independent candidates due to moves by the Election Commission and the Supreme Court to block their party’s participation. One step involved stripping the party of its electoral symbol, which helps illiterate voters find candidates on the ballot. Another was to ban party rallies.
Khan, who was ousted from office through a vote of no confidence in Parliament in 2022, has been in prison since last August. He was barred from running in the elections due to his criminal conviction, and maintains that his sentences and the large number of legal cases against him are politically motivated.
The final result showed that independent candidates won 101 out of 266 seats in the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament.
Nawaz Sharif’s party is in second place
The PML-N, led by three-time prime minister and former criminal Nawaz Sharif, got the second highest number of seats with 75 seats.
The Pakistan People’s Party, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, came in third place with 54 seats. One result was withheld and another vote was postponed due to the death of one of the candidates.
The campaign to oust Khan from office in 2022 was led by the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party.
No party has won the majority needed to form a government, so Pakistan will have a coalition. The new parliament chooses the country’s next prime minister.
The election result constitutes an embarrassment for Sharif, who was considered the preferred candidate by the powerful security establishment after his smooth return to the country last October. The Pakistani army has long presented itself as the final arbiter in choosing the prime minister.
Sharif spent four years in self-imposed exile abroad to avoid serving a prison sentence, but his conviction was overturned within weeks of his arrival in Pakistan.
Even on polling day, Sharif insisted that he did not want to form a coalition and demanded a full five-year term for one party. By Friday evening, when he saw his party falling behind the independent candidates backed by Khan, he spoke of alliances and coming together.
Sharif did not complete his term in office.