Pakistan: Coalition parties agree to form government, Shehbaz Sharif set to become PM


Wednesday, 21 February 2024 (10:54 IST)
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), told a late-night press conference in Islamabad that his party had reached an agreement with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to form a coalition government.
The PML-N of former three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced last week they would form a coalition with PPP after no party won a clear majority in the parliamentary elections on February 8.  
The announcement came after several rounds of talks on a power sharing formula before an agreement was reached to form a coalition government.
The PML-N and PPP are technically the two largest parties, with 79 seats and 54 seats respectively, because the candidates loyal to former Prime Minister Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had to run as independents. 
They, however, make up the largest allied bloc in parliament, with 93 seats but no technical party designation.
But nobody, PTI independents included, won a majority in the vote, with 266 directly-elected seats in the parliament in all. 
Parties push to form government 
Zardari told the press conference that former premier Shehbaz Sharif, the Muslim League-Nawaz candidate who was seated beside him, would be the coalition's candidate for prime minister.
"We will make our collective efforts to steer the country out of multifaceted crises," Sharif said while thanking PML-N and PPP leaders for the nomination.
Zardari added that his father and former president, Asif Ali Zardari, will be the coalition candidate for president.
Bilawal said the details of how the PPP and PML-N will share key offices between will come at a later date, Dawn newspaper reported. 
Zardari said the parties would strive to form government as soon as possible.
According to Pakistan's constitution, a session of parliament has to be called by February 29 after which a vote for a new prime minister will take place.
Pakistanis went to the polls earlier this month. A caretaker government had been in place after former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted in 2022.

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