Pakistan to elect new PM today, MQM supporting PML-N’s candidate

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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly will meet today (Tuesday) to elect a new prime minister after Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz Sharif over a corruption scandal.

President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned a special National Assembly session today (Tuesday) at 3:00 PM to elect the new leader of the house.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has nominated former state minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as interim prime minister for 45 days, while the opposition parties failed to agree on a joint candidate, with each party throwing its weight behind different candidates who submitted their nomination papers.

Imran Khan s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) backed Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rashid s name, but could not gain the support of any other party apart from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) refused to support Sheikh Rashid and asked its leaders, Khursheed Shah, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, and Naveed Qamar to file their nomination papers.

Although, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-Pakistan) also announced to support PML-N nominee. Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah too has submitted the nomination papers.

The opposition parties have so far failed to agree on a consensus candidate but they have continued consultations to agree on one candidate, opposition sources said.

But even a joint candidate cannot defeat Khaqan Abbasi as PML-N enjoys majority in 342-member house. Under 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.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) holds a majority with 188 seats in the 342-member parliament, so it should be able to swiftly install its choice, barring any defections from its own ranks.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday disqualified Nawaz Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing the embattled leader out of office.

Nawaz Sharif has named Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the interim leader and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, as the long-term successor. Shahbaz Sharif, currently the chief minister of Punjab will have to resign from his post and run for a by-election to join Parliament before he is elected as prime minister.

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