ISLAMABAD: The ‘tiger’ roared again in politics as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz made a triumphant election comeback, with Nawaz Sharif heading for a third term as Pakistan’s prime minister.
Political heavyweights made their way into National Assembly as PML-N gained over 128 seats in the lower house.
Nawaz Sharif is now heading for a third term as Pakistan’s prime minister.
The PML-N held off a challenge from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf which gained majority of seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, giving a tough time to PML-N in Punjab but secured just 10 seats from the province.
PTI put up a strong fight and he is likely to remain a force in politics.
Sharif declared victory in a jubilant speech to supporters. On Sunday, television channels said results so far showed that the PML-N had captured 128 seats of the 272 National Assembly seats that were contested.
The PTI had secured 35 seats while the PPP, which led the government for the past five years, won 32, according to unofficial results.
Sharif’s party may not have enough seats to rule on its own and may be forced into a coalition, which could make it difficult to push reforms needed to revive the economy.
Many of the urban youths were voting for the first time in an election that saw a robust turnout of 60 percent.
They had rallied behind Imran Khan’s calls for an end to graft and a halt to U.S. drone strikes against suspected militants on Pakistani soil, widely seen as a violation of sovereignty.
Sharif, who was toppled in a 1999 bloodless coup by former army chief Pervez Musharraf, may take steps to improve ties with Pakistan’s arch-enemy, India. Efforts to boost trade between the neighbors have stalled due to suspicion on both sides.
If Sharif is forced into a coalition, he may look to Islamist parties to cobble together a majority in parliament.
On top of the 272 contested seats, a further 70 – most reserved for women and members of non-Muslim minorities – are allocated to parties on the basis of their performance in the constituencies. To have a majority of the total of 342, the government would need 172 seats.