Pakistan: Khan’s party begins coalition talks

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Reuters

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Imran Khan’s party said it has begun talks with independents and small parties to form a coalition government after a resounding triumph in Pakistan’s general election, as rival parties planned protests over alleged vote rigging.

Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) won 116 seats in Wednesday’s ballot, short of the 137 needed for a simple majority but a surprisingly strong showing that helped fuel suspicion of rigging.

The latest tally, which was updated Saturday afternoon following long delays, showed the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party in distant second place with 64 seats.

Mr Khan’s party has begun reaching out to potential coalition partners to form a government, according to spokesman Fawad Chaudhry, a task that analysts said should be straightforward.

“We have contacted small parties and independent members, they will soon meet party leaders in Islamabad,” Mr Chaudhry said late Friday.

A PTI representative later added that the party was hoping to form a government within two weeks before Pakistan’s independence day celebrations on August 14.

“We expect that Imran Khan will take the oath as a prime minister before August 14,” PTI representative Naeem ul Haq told reporters Saturday.

Mr Haq’s comments followed an announcement by rival parties a day earlier vowing to launch a protest “movement”, after foreign observers voiced concerns about the contest.

More than a dozen parties calling themselves the All Parties Conference (APC) promised to protest over the results.

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