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Imran Khan

Imran Khan wins Pakistan Elections

30 July 2018

Former cricketer Imran Khan, whose PTI party won more seats than other parties in the 25 July elections, is on course to be the next PM of Pakistan. The second party, the PML-N, led by former PM Sharif, had alleged vote-rigging but said the outcome of elections would be accepted ‘for the sake of democracy.’ There now seems, however, some doubt on this commitment leaving the final outcome uncertain.

The EU monitoring team stated that the electoral process was overshadowed by allegations of interference, restrictions on freedom of speech and the media, and unequal opportunities to campaign. It also criticised discrimination against women and minorities in the election.

Results declared so far show Mr Khan's party is leading the count with 114 seats of the 272 National Assembly constituencies being contested, far ahead of the PML-N on 62. However a total of 137 seats is required for a majority and while Mr Khan is on course to become Pakistan's next prime minister, he will have to form a coalition government. The turnout has been estimated at between 50% and 55% out of 106 million registered voters.

The formation of government will mark just the second-ever successful transfer of power from one civilian government to another, the first having come in 2013, when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) formed a government.

Imran Khan has vowed to hold talks with India to seek a resolution to the dispute over the Kashmir region, a key flashpoint between the nuclear-armed countries. But nothing much will happen until the general elections in India next year.  

His other top priority will be the economy. The value of Pakistan's currency, the rupee, has been falling. Inflation is on the rise and the trade deficit is widening. Exports such as textiles have taken a hit from cheaper products by regional competitors, including China. Analysts say the new government may need to turn to the IMF for the country's second bailout since 2013.