South Asia and Beyond

PML-N, PPP Agree To Form New Govt In Pakistan

 PML-N, PPP Agree To Form New Govt In Pakistan

After days of hectic negotiations, a consensus was reached at midnight between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to share power in order to form the new government.

In a joint press conference, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif from PML-N said that both the parties had decided to nominate Shehbaz Sharif for the prime minister’s post and Asif Ali Zardari for the post of president.

“We pray the upcoming [coalition] government manages to overcome external and internal problems faced by the country,” said Bilawal thanking PML-N for “throwing its weight behind PPP candidate Asif Ali Zardari”.

Sharif said that they had asked the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaaf (PTI) to form its government at the Centre but with the former ruling party unable to get the magic number, both PPP and PML-N had to step in.

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According to Sharif, both the parties would try to take everyone along at a point where the country is facing a serious economic crisis.

Though no announcement was made for other posts like that of the National Assembly speaker and the Senate chairman, Bilawal said that an agreement has been reached upon by both the sides. Dawn reported that the PPP would not join the cabinet. The post of chairman of the Senate and speaker’s post would go to PML-N and PPP respectively.

The press conference did not mention the government in Punjab – a sticking point in the talks between both the sides, according to reports.

According to the Pakistani constitution, the first session of the newly formed parliament needs to be called before February 29. After members have taken oath, a new speaker and deputy speaker would be elected through a secret ballot. The new speaker will then announce the election of the PM for which 169 votes are required in the 336-strong house. Earlier in the day, Bilawal had told reporters that the responsibility for the delay in the agreement rests on the PML-N and that if he back the government it will be on his own terms.