Pakistan’s National Assembly to elect new Prime Minister

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Islamabad, Aug 17 (IANS) The newly-elected members of Pakistan’s National Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament, are set to vote for the new Prime Minister on Friday.

Former cricketer and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif are vying for the top post.

The PTI, which emerged as the single largest party in the July 25 general election, appears to be in a comfortable position to elect its chief as the next Prime Minister. A simple majority of votes from the total strength of the 330-member house is required for a candidate to take the top slot.

According to the poll body’s figures, the PTI has 158 members in the National Assembly after the joining of nine Independents and bagging of 33 seats reserved for women and minorities.

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In all, the party has the support of 175 lawmakers as it has the backing of the country’s smaller and regional parties.

On the other hand, Shehbaz Sharif faces an almost impossible task to be elected as the Prime Minister after the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, with 54 seats, withdrew support for his candidature.

The PML-N has 82 seats in the National Assembly and it was unclear if the party will still be supported by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (15 seats) and Awami National Party (1 seat).

The Jamaat-e-Islami, which is part of the MMA, announced that it will not vote in the election, Geo News reported.

On Thursday, PPP leader Khursheed Shah said his party apprised the PML-N of its reservations over the latter’s candidature for prime ministership. He warned that if the PML-N does not change its candidate for the post, the PPP would make a decision accordingly.

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Sources told Geo News that the PPP had decided not to vote for either candidate in the election.

–IANS

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