Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the nominee of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) has been elected as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly today, reports Dawn. Abbasi will succeed Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan after being found guilty of corruption in the Panama Papers case last week. Abbasi’s path is clear because of “disunity” among the opposition ranks as well as the superior numbers enjoyed by the ruling PML-N in the assembly, according to Dawn. However, Abbasi would only serve as an interim PM, until Nawaz’s younger brother Shabaz Sharif becomes eligible to become the PM. Shabaz is presently Punjab CM and he will have to win an election for the National Assembly to become the PM.
According to PTI, Pakistan’s opposition parties on Monday failed to agree on a joint candidate against PML-N’s Abbasi for the prime minister’s election, with six candidates filing their nomination papers for the polls scheduled to be held tomorrow. Pakistan Supreme Court had disqualified 67-year-old Nawaz for dishonesty on Friday and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing him to resign.
President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, today at 3:00 PM to elect the new leader of the house. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had nominated Abbasi as interim prime minister candidate. Talking to media after submitting his nomination papers on Monday, Abbasi said he would continue with the policies of ousted prime minister Sharif over the period of his tenure.
If elected, Abbasi will run the government as interim prime minister until Sharif’s brother Shehbaz is elected as member of parliament to succeed him as his eventual successor. On Monday, opposition parties failed to agree on a joint candidate, with each party throwing its weight behind different candidates who submitted their nomination papers. “A meeting between the opposition members on Monday ended without the parties’ consensus on a single candidate for the prime minister’s post,” Dawn reported.
As per the Constitution of Pakistan, the prime minister has to be elected by a majority of the 342-member lower house of parliament, which comes to 172 votes. The PML-N and its coalition partners command a 209-seat majority in the assembly.