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PPP, PML-N finally reach new coalition govt deal in Pakistan

Updated on: 21 February,2024 08:54 AM IST  |  Islamabad

The PPP and PML-N have achieved the required number, and [now] we are in a position to form the government," Bilawal told reporters

PPP, PML-N finally reach new coalition govt deal in Pakistan

Shehbaz Sharif. Pic/AFP

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party have finally reached an agreement to form a new coalition government after days of intense negotiations, senior party leaders have announced.

In a joint news conference late on Tuesday night, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, 72, is set to assume the role of the Prime Minister once again. At the same time, PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, 68, is slated to become the country's President again.

"The PPP and PML-N have achieved the required number, and [now] we are in a position to form the government," Bilawal told reporters. He said former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party-backed candidates and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) failed to achieve a simple majority in Parliament to form government in the Centre.

Bilawal hoped that the news of the political alliance with the PML-N to form a coalition government would lead to a positive market response as the cash-strapped country faced a hung Parliament after the February 8 elections. Independent candidates - a majority backed by 71-year-old Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party -- won 93 National Assembly seats.

Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif asserted that his PML-N now has the 'required numbers' with the PPP to be in a position to form the next government as he thanked the leadership of the two parties for the positive conclusion to the talks.

The former prime minister emphasised the unity between the two parties, noting that they were well-positioned to form the government at the Centre, The Express Tribune newspaper reported. The PML-N won 75 seats while the PPP came third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has also agreed to support them with their 17 seats.

To form a government, a party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly or the lower house of Parliament. Meanwhile, in a post on X, 71-year-old Khan's PTI hit out at the newly cemented PPP, PML-N alliance as 'PDM 2.0' "PDM 2.0 = #MandateThieves."

The announcement of the alliance came a day after the latest round of talks between the top leaders of the two parties ended inconclusively on Monday as both sides failed to reach a consensus on a power-sharing formula to form a coalition government.

Shehbaz Sharif, who was prime minister from 2022 to 2023, said that the journey ahead for the new government would not be easy but fraught with many difficulties and obstacles. He asserted that the coalition alliance will tackle them together, the Dawn newspaper reported.

PPP co-chairperson Zardari, who was president from 2008 to 2013, has said the struggle of the political alliance bidding to make the next government is for the sake of the country and future generations. The February 8 general elections have been controversial, with several serious allegations of widespread rigging to alter the results.

Imran Khan's sister Aleema Khan said the PTI chief has termed the February 8 elections 'mother of all rigging'. Aleema met Imran Khan at Adiala Jail on Tuesday. She told reporters that the people's mandate was 'stolen' following the elections. She also said that Imran Khan has strongly condemned the suspension of internet services, which he claimed was used to 'hide the real results'.

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