Pakistani parties to resume coalition talks after split poll mandate

Mon, Feb 12, 2024
By editor
2 MIN READ

Foreign

PAKISTANI leaders were on Monday set to converge on the capital Islamabad to resume difficult negotiations to form a coalition government after no clear winners emerged from last week’s disputed elections.

“No party can form the government on its own,” said Azam Tarar, an aide to former Premier Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif’s party had on Friday initiated coalition talks with former president Asif Ali Zardari and some other small ethnic and Islamic groups.

The candidates backed by former premier Imran Khan, now jailed, had won 101 out of 265 seats that were contested directly for the national legislature, according to the election panel.

Sharif’s party was trailing behind with 75 seats while another 54 constituencies were won by Zardari, the widower of former slain premier Benazir Bhutto.

While Khan’s loyalists contested as independent candidates after a court ruling disbanded his party, there is no legal bar on them to join another party.

There were fears that they would defect.

“We are struggling to keep them under control,” a Khan aide told dpa, wishing not to be named.

Sharif, Zardari, and the leaders of all other parties would continue their talks in Islamabad after negotiations took place in the eastern city of Lahore on the weekend, Tarar said.

“We are very, very close to reaching a power-sharing formula. This week is crucial,” a Sharif’s aide said, requesting anonymity.

They have until February to form a coalition, according to the rules.

The elections in coup-prone nuclear power Pakistan were marred by rigging allegations, suspected meddling of the powerful military, and sporadic violence in the run-up to the polls. (dpa/NAN)

A.

-FEB 12, 2024 @ 10:54 GMT|

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