Khan’s PTI leads as final results in Pakistan election called | Elections News

The military has called for stability as several parties allege election tampering and have announced protests.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and its affiliates have won the most seats in Pakistan’s elections, the Election Commission has revealed as it announced the final results in the hotly contested vote.

A number of independent candidates linked to the jailed former leader’s PTI won seats in the National Assembly in the February 8 elections, the commission said, giving the party a surprise lead with 97 out of 265 seats. However, with no party gaining a majority and numerous candidates claiming vote rigging, Pakistan’s political future is highly uncertain.

Five other independents not supported by Imran Khan also won seats. The PTI was followed by the Pakistan Muslim League (PMLN), led by Khan’s fierce rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, with 76 seats. The 54 seats won by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) give it the potential to become king.

However, several other smaller parties also took seats, meaning complex negotiations over government formation are likely to follow.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Karachi-based party, made a surprise return to the polls, winning 17 seats, while several others bagged a combined 20 seats.

The vote, which was marred by deadly violence, was held to select 265 members of the National Assembly, meaning 134 seats are needed for a coalition to win a simple majority.

Several results have been suspended by the Electoral Commission following stay orders from courts.


Protest amid claims of tampering

Thousands of angry protesters had taken to the streets in several cities in recent days during the delay in vote counting – blamed on a telecommunications disruption on voting day for what authorities called security reasons – that left several people dead .

The publication of the final results and the suspension orders have led to new demonstrations across the country. In the meantime, however, violence has remained limited.

The powerful Pakistani army, which has ruled directly for almost 30 years in Pakistan’s 76-year history, has called for stability and calm. The PMLN is thought to be close to intervening if the various parties fail to agree on a governing coalition.

The PTI, along with several other parties, has called for protests against the results, alleging falsification.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said from Islamabad that three of the stay orders relate to seats that the PTI claims the independent candidates had won by a huge margin.

“If this is not handled legally, these protests could spread across the country and perhaps even grow into a movement,” he said. “Amid such orders, it appears there will be a delay in the formation of the next government.”

A PTI supporter from Lahore told Al Jazeera that he would not silently allow his party’s mandate to be stolen.

“The fact that the internet was blocked on Election Day showed how the state tried to tamper with the results. We believe that state institutions are fully involved in this and that is regrettable. They must respect the votes of the people,” he said, adding that he would protest in the afternoon.

At least six independent candidates, backed by the PTI party, have appealed the results to the court.

‘Astonishing’

Analyst Zaigham Khan told Al Jazeera that there are two possible scenarios after the election results are announced.

“The most likely scenario is a coalition government that includes all political parties – minus Khan’s PTI,” he told Al Jazeera. This includes the two largest political parties, PPP and PMLN, as well as MQM, Jamaat-e-Islami and others.

“The second scenario, less likely but technically possible, is that the PPP joins hands with the PTI and forms a government,” the analyst said.

Farzana Sheikh, a specialist on Pakistani politics and economics, told Al Jazeera’s Inside Story that the election results were “astonishing.”

Millions turned out to defy the military establishment’s desired outcome: a clear victory for the favored candidate, Nawaz Sharif, she said.

“It also points to the deep frustration of a population that is truly desperate for change, desperate for a new government in particular to tackle the acute economic crisis that the country is currently facing.”


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