Imran Khan’s PTI party in talks for coalition

Special Imran Khan’s PTI party in talks for coalition
Pakistan’s cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) speaks to the media after casting his vote at a polling station during the general election in Islamabad on July 25, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 28 July 2018

Imran Khan’s PTI party in talks for coalition

Imran Khan’s PTI party in talks for coalition
  • PTI needs support of at least 22 seats in National Assembly to establish a majority.
  • Poll figures show PTI is single largest party in Pakistan’s assembly.

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is negotiating with smaller parties and independents in a bid to form a ruling coalition.

The move follows the release of provisional poll results on Saturday showing the PTI as the single largest party in the National Assembly with 115 seats, according to Election Commission of Pakistan figures.

The party needs the support of at least 22 more members to complete the tally of 137 seats that will establish a majority in the assembly.

Provisional poll results were released more than 56 hours after the end of voting in 270 National Assembly and 571 provincial assembly seats across Pakistan.

The PTI failed to clinch an outright majority in the Lower House of Parliament and has been forced to begin negotiations with smaller parties and candidates who won as independents to form a ruling coalition.

 “We are reaching out to independents and smaller parties to form a coalition government in the center,” Fawad Chaudhry, central information secretary of PTI, told Arab News. “There is no hurdle in our way to form the federal government.”

According to official results, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party of jailed ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, secured 64 seats in lower house, followed by the Pakistan People’s Party with 43 seats. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a coalition of five religious parties, won 12 seats, and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan claimed six seats.

The results show that 13 independent candidates won National Assembly seats, while the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and newly formed Balochistan Awami Party won four each.

The Balochistan National Party has won three seats in the National Assembly, the Grand Democratic Alliance two, and the Awami National Party, Awami Muslim League, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaniat and Jamhoori Watan Party one seat each.

As the PTI launched efforts to form a coalition government, rival parties, including PML-N and MMA, on Friday announced a multi-party conference to launch a protest movement against alleged rigging and irregularities in the July 25 polls.

PPP and MQM-P took no part in the conference, but have also rejected the election results, claiming the poll was rigged.

The PTI is undeterred by the protests. Chaudhry said that his party will form coalition governments in Punjab and Balochistan provinces, as well as in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where it has swept the polls.

 “Almost all the independents in Punjab have assured us of their support to form the government,” he said.

In Punjab province, the PML-N has emerged as the largest party with 129 seats, but the PTI is close behind with 123 seats.

A total of 29 independents have won their seats in Punjab assembly and their support will play a crucial role in forming the government.

The PML has won seven seats, the PPP six, and the Pakistan Awami Raj party claimed one seat in the province.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI swept the polls with 66 seats, followed by MMA 10, six each by the ANP and independents, and four by the PPP.

In Sindh province, the PPP can form a government with 76 seats. The PTI won 23 seats, MQM-P 16, GDA 11, Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan two and MMA one.

The newly formed BAP leads in Balochistan province with 15 seats, followed by MMA with nine seats, BNP six, independents five, PTI four, BNA-Awami and ANP three each, Hazara Democratic Party two, and one each by the PML-N, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awai Party and Jamhoori Wattan Party.

Tahir Malik, a political analyst and academic, said that the PTI is in a position to form coalition governments in the center and Punjab province, but the opposition parties are also flexing their muscles.

 “PTI will have to develop a good working relationship with the opposition parties, especially with PPP and PML-N, to introduce the necessary legislation, implement its agenda and run the day-to-day affairs of the government,” he told Arab News.