Pakistan: Coalition Government Selects Shehbaz Sharif as PM

    Pakistan: Coalition Government Selects Shehbaz Sharif as PM
    Photo: Rebecca Conway/Stringer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The Pakistani political parties that received the second and third most votes in the recent national election have agreed to form a coalition to elect the next prime minister. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) won 75 out of 266 [directly elected] seats, with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) taking 54.

    • The coalition, which will also incorporate the MQM-P, PML-Q, IPP, and BAP parties, has garnered 152 seats. After adding the reserved 60 seats for women and 10 for minorities, the coalition will hold far more than the 169 required for a simple majority.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Although the PML-N will take control of the incoming government, its power will be less than it hoped. PPP has opted to not fill any cabinet posts and will instead remain an opposition party capable of ousting Sharif should he continue his brother's dreadful economic policies. The PML-N's relatively insignificant majority shows that the people are leaning toward a new leading party — possibly the PPP — that may usher in a new era of stability in the long term.

    Narrative B

    Despite voter turnout overwhelming this rigged election, enough roadblocks were put in place to keep the PTI candidates from forming a government. First, the PTI was legally banned from existence. Then, several districts saw mysterious loads of ballots emerge overnight to ensure the Khan-backed independents didn't win more seats than their already historic amount. While the West makes nominal statements about ensuring the election was fair, Pakistan seems to be headed down a path of civil conflict.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 21% chance of civil war in Pakistan before Jan. 1, 2036, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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