Imran Khan’s Pakistan
by Shahid Javed Burki-Mareeg.com-KARACHI – The cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan will become the next prime minister of Pakistan. The vote count was completed three days after the election on July 25, and Khan led his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), to victory. A party – or a coalition of parties – requires the support of at least 137 members of the National Assembly to be called upon to form a government. Khan is close to achieving that goal. Having won 115 seats, the PTI should be able to get the support of scores of independents and members of the half-dozen smaller parties. He will likely be sworn in before August 14, Pakistan’s 71st birthday.
Submitting to the counsel of his close advisers and addressing the public as prime minister-elect, Khan said that, having played cricket, he knows the game is not over until the last ball has been bowled. But he subsequently appeared on national television promising a naya (new) Pakistan.
The country has completed one of world’s largest democratic exercises. Altogether, 106 million voters were registered to elect the next National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. Of these, 56 million people (almost 53% of the total) cast their votes. The electorate chose 270 members of the National Assembly. Because two candidates were killed in pre-election violence, voting for two of the directly elected seats was postponed. Sixty women and ten members of various religious minorities were indirectly elected by the four provincial assemblies, bringing the total membership of the national legislature to 342.
Over 3,600 candidates competed for the 272 directly elected National Assembly seats, an average of 13 per seat. This is a good proxy for gauging the state of politics. In less-developed political systems, party discipline typically is too weak to limit the number of people who can contest elections.