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ISLAMABAD: Political uncertainty continues to persist four days after February 8 general elections with their credibility challenged both domestically (from protests to legal recourse to seeking redress through all available mechanisms) and concerns voiced publicly by Western governments.

No political party has been able to secure the required 134 seats [without the accrued reserved seats for women and minority based on general seats won] in the National Assembly, the magic number for securing a simple majority out of 266 general seats in the House.

Whereas, after inclusion of the seats reserved for the women and minorities, the required number for making a simple majority in the 336-member National Assembly will be 196 to be required for the election of leader of the House – the Prime Minister.

Pakistan’s next premier: another case of political uncertainty

At present, former coalition partners including PML-N, has 79 seats (including the addition of six independents so far) and PPP with 54. Contrary to the claims and expectations that PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari would be able to take many of the independents, no winning independent candidate has so far joined the PPP.

Although, around 100 of returned candidates are technically independent, only eight of them are unaffiliated-independent; the rest 92 are backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

However, PTI party has already announced that it would not make any alliance with either political party – PML-N or PPP.

The sources privy to ongoing negotiations between PML-N and PPP told Business Recorder that a power-sharing formula on the possibility of appointing prime ministers from their respective parties for half of a five-year term is also under discussion between the two parties.

They said that PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari wants his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to be the prime minister for half of a five-year term, which if agreed upon by both the parties, will lead to the formation of the next government.

As far as the PML-N’s candidate for the office of the prime minister is concerned, senior party leader Khawaja Asif said that Shehbaz Sharif will be the candidate of the party for the coveted slot. However, minutes after Asif’s statement, PML-N secretary information Marriyum Aurangzeb contradicted the senior party leader’s statement, saying the party is yet to finalize the name of its candidate for the slot of the Prime Minister.

“The name will be finalized after consultation with allies and the party unanimously. No decision has yet been taken in this regard as talks are going on, and once the name is finalized, the nation will be taken into confidence,” she added.

The sources privy to the ongoing talks between PPP and PML-N, said that a proposal has also been floated to elect Nawaz Sharif as President and Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister which is again for half of a five-year term.

They said that more rounds of consultations will be held between the leadership of the two parties as well as with other like-minded parties, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain with regard to the coalition government in the Center.

Additionally, formation of coalition governments in Punjab and Balochistan are also under consideration between the two parties – PML-N and PPP. However, the final decision will be taken after due consultations within the parties which would be followed by an agreed power sharing formula both for the Centre and the two provinces.

When contacted, a senior PPP leader who declined to be named confirmed that negotiations are underway on a possible power sharing formula with the PML-N leadership both in the Centre as well as Punjab and Balochistan.

“The party’s CEC [Central Executive Committee] has already nominated Bilawal as its candidate for the office of prime minister and today’s meeting will endorse it again,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Faisal Waheed Feb 13, 2024 11:24am
In my opinion, PPP should keep distance from PML-N for formulation of govt, otherwise PPP will be finished in next election just as people did with PML-N,
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KU Feb 13, 2024 04:03pm
Just read what the Economist and Financial Times has to say about our elections, and yet our leaders of various shades and intents are not ashamed.
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