Pakistani parliament to elect new PM on Tuesday

Monday, 31 Jul, 2017

In a televised speech Saturday, Sharif said that his younger brother, Shahbaz, who now is chief minister in Punjab province, would contest election to the National Assembly, in the seat which fell vacant with his removal.

Sharif defiantly spoke to supporters on Saturday after Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled on Friday he would not be fit for office, due to an investigation into alleged corruption charges against his family.

Pakistan's parliament will meet on Tuesday to elect a new prime minister after the disqualification of three-time leader Nawaz Sharif.

Because Sharif's party has a comfortable majority in Parliament, Abbasi is expected to easily win the necessary Parliamentary vote when it convenes next week.

The opposition could also field a candidate for the premiership, though the nominee has little chance of getting sufficient votes. Nawaz Sharif's loyalists believe that there was a conspiracy to unseat him. Subsequently, the PM House issued a terse statement saying that he, despite having reservations on the court verdict, has relinquished the office of prime minister.

The son of an industrialist, Sharif saw both of his first two stints in power cut short in the 1990s, including in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999. It was unclear who will be appointed to take over the post till the next general elections, scheduled for 2018. Meanwhile, the government has still not made any announcement on who would become the country's interim PM till Shehbaz's election to the National Assembly.

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Senior opposition leader Imran Khan welcomed the court's verdict to disqualify the prime minister and said the court verdict is a "victory" of the nation.

Shahbaz, now the chief minister of Punjab province - Pakistan's most populous region and the Sharifs' political heartland - will have to resign from his post and run for a by-election to join parliament before he is elected as prime minister.

"The nomination of Shahbaz Sharif as the next prime minister won't bring political stability, it will strengthen the culture of dynastic politics", political analyst Abid Hassan told AFP.

The PML-N can not afford to lose its grip on Punjab at this time, especially since the next general elections are barely a year away, a senior PML-N leader was quoted as saying Dawn News. He is now the chief minister of Punjab, the most populous province of Pakistan. The former prime minister and his family have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

No Pakistani leader since the country's foundation in 1947, has completed a term.