After a dramatic week that concluded with the ousting from office of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, Pakistan’s parliament elected Shehbaz Sharif as the country’s new prime minister on Monday.
Sharif, the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, has emerged as the face of a united opposition to Khan, who has been accused of poor governance and economic mismanagement. On Sunday, the national cricket star, who took office in 2018, was ousted by a no-confidence vote.
Sharif and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Khan’s former foreign minister, were set to compete for the country’s top job, but legislators from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party resigned en masse minutes before the vote and stormed out of the National Assembly.
Shehbaz was the only candidate left after the walkout, and he was elected by opposition lawmakers.
“Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif received 174 votes in the election. Ayaz Sadiq, a PML-N politician and acting parliament speaker, who presided over the proceedings, revealed that Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi had received no votes.
“The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif sahib, has been proclaimed elected.”
The new Pakistani prime minister is the younger brother of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister who was disqualified from holding public office by the Supreme Court in 2017 and fled abroad on medical bail after serving a few months of a 10-year prison sentence for corruption.
The PTI’s decision to resign from parliament as a group is seen as an attempt to put pressure on the incoming administration to call a new election. The acceptance of the resignations will be determined by the parliament’s new speaker, who has yet to be appointed following the resignation of Khan party member Asad Qaiser.
Pakistan could be thrown into a new bout of crisis after the election board said that general elections will not be held until at least October.
The Pakistan Stock Exchange climbed 1,429.52 or 3.2 percent at the start of trade on Monday, boosted by optimism for political stability.
After closing at a record low of 188 on Thursday, the Pakistani rupee rose to 183.25 against the dollar, according to the Pakistan Exchange Companies Association.