Bharat Express

Pakistan General Election—2024—Who Will Be The Next Prime Minister?

Pakistan general elections were marred by violence by armed groups and the suspension of mobile and internet services in the whole of Pakistan.

Pakistan Elections 2024

Pakistan Elections 2024

Pakistan is the world’s fifth-largest country by population. The Election took place on 8th February 2024 amid an ongoing economic crisis, with inflation running at almost 30 percent and weakening currency, which has shed more than 50 percent of its value against the United States Dollar in the last two years.

Pakistan general elections were marred by violence by armed groups and the suspension of mobile and internet services in the whole of Pakistan. More than 128 million people were registered to elect representatives of the National Assembly and the country’s four provincial legislatures namely Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In all, 128 million people registered to vote in the election to elect 266 representatives forming the 16th parliament in a first-the-post system. They will also vote to elect the legislature of the country’s four provinces in a highly polarized environment on the backdrop of political chaos, deep economic instability, and security issues with the re-emergence of attacks by armed fighters. This election also has the highest number of youth voters. 69 million male voters which constitute 54 percent of the electorates and 59 million female voters with 46 percent of the electorate, 167 registered political parties, and 5121 National Assembly candidates. ( out of these 4806 male candidates, 312 female candidates, 2 Transgender, 90582 polling stations.

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In a country of 241 million people, two-thirds are below the age of 30. A citizen becomes eligible to vote at the age of 18. The largest segment of voters is aged between 18 and 35, comprising 44% of the national vote bank. The second largest group of voters is between the ages of 36 and 45, constituting 22.3 percent of the electorates.

In the contest for the National Assembly are 5121 candidates. They belong either to Pakistan’s Registered Political Parties or are Independents. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been barred from using its election symbol, the cricket bat, so its candidates will also be contesting as Independent this time.

The struggling economy has allocated 243.6 million rupees for the cost of the elections, which many critics believe has effectively been engineered to keep Imran Khan out of power and instead usher in a leader the military is comfortable with.

Pakistan’s powerful military establishment has ruled the country directly for more than three decades of its Independent history. It is the most powerful institution in the country, 12.5% of the government budget goes towards military spending, according to the Government documents.

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The National Assembly consists of 336 seats—266 to be decided through direct voting, while 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for minorities which are allotted on the basis of 5 percent proportional representation in the federal parliament.

Based on the result of the national census conducted in 2023, the constituencies went through a delimitation process. The boundaries of many constituencies were altered and the number of seats was reduced from 272 to 266. Punjab—141 seats, Sindh—61 seats, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa- 45 seats, Baluchistan –16 seats and Islamabad capital territories—3 seats

A party or a coalition will require 169 seats to form the Government

Three leading parties vying for the Top Post

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN)—Nawaz Sharif, a three- time Prime Minister, returned for Pakistan after four years in late 2023- to assume the role of the head of the Party. Several corruption cases that had led to his dismissal as prime minister in 2017 have since been dropped. Shahbaz Sharif, his younger brother, has also been Prime Minister in an alliance with key opposition Parties to remove Imran Khan as Prime Minister in April 2022. PMNL had bagged 126 and 64 in 2013 and 2018 respectively. If the PMLN forms a government, it is unclear which brother or Maryam Nawaz might become PM. But Nawaz will likely to hold the strings either way.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is the scion of the Bhutto dynasty. He will be leading his Party after having served as foreign minister for a short period of after khan’s removal as PM in 2022. He is one of the youngest mainstream politicians. His campaign pays attention to climate change, gender equality in the economy and striving for civility among parties. His Party had secured 34 and 43 seats in 2013 and 2018 respectively.

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Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI)—

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is the leader of opposition PTI Party. He is currently in jail in cases related to corruption and leaking state secrets. He led protest against the country’s powerful military after his removal from office in 2022. His conviction in a corruption case resulted in him being disqualified as a candidate. His party PTI has ruled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the past decade, and the country’ most influential province, Punjab, for the past five years. His Party had obtained 28 seats and 116 seats in 2013 and 2018 respectively.
There are some reports of discrepancies at various counting stations causing concern and confusion among the electorates. Many social digital platforms and youtubers reporting that PTI and PTI-Aligned candidates far ahead in spite of tampering with the election results. While writing this piece of article it has been reported that PTI/IND-62, PMNL-46, PPP-39