Pakistani parliament to vote for next prime minister on Monday after Imran Khan ousted

Opposition politician Shehbaz Sharif presented his candidacy for the post of Prime Minister of Pakistan in the legislature on Sunday, his party said, after incumbent President Imran Khan lost a vote of no confidence in parliament after nearly four years in office. able.

The younger brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz, 70, has led an opposition bid in parliament to oust former cricket star Khan, and is expected to replace him after a vote Monday.

But Khan’s party has also submitted documents nominating a former foreign minister as their candidate for prime minister, saying their MPs would resign en masse if he loses, potentially creating the need for urgent by-elections for their seats.

Khan, the first Pakistani prime minister to be ousted in a vote of no confidence, had been hanging on for nearly a week after a united opposition made their first attempt to impeach him.

Khan, shown in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, in June 2021, urges his supporters to take to the streets after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament early on Sunday. (Saiyna Bashir/Reuters)

On Sunday, he repeated claims that a foreign plot was behind the regime change.

“The struggle for freedom begins again today,” Khan said via his Twitter account, which is followed by more than 15 million people and still describes him as Pakistan’s prime minister in its biography section.

Khan calls supporters to the streets

Even before the vote, Khan had called for protests, which were to take place late Sunday.

“I say to all my followers across Pakistan on Sunday after Isha [evening] prayers, you must all come out of your homes and protest peacefully against this imported government trying to come to power,” he said in an address to the nation on Friday.

His government fell in the early hours of Sunday after a 1 p.m. session that included repeated delays and lengthy speeches by lawmakers from his Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

Opposition parties were able to secure 174 votes in the 342-member chamber for the no-confidence motion, giving them the majority they needed to enable Monday’s vote to elect a new prime minister.

Opposition party supporters celebrate Khan’s ousting in Karachi, Pakistan on Sunday. (Fareed Khan/Associated Press)

Massive resignation threat

Khan’s former information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, told reporters of the resignation plan if their candidate does not win.

The speaker would be forced to accept these resignations, which would require by-elections in probably more than 100 seats.

This could plunge the country into another crisis, as the electoral commission previously said it would not be ready to hold elections until October.

The vote of no confidence came after Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered parliament to convene and hold the vote.

Pakistani opposition supporters gathered outside the parliament building in Islamabad on Sunday after Khan was ousted. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images)

Shehbaz Sharif said Khan’s departure was a chance for a fresh start.

“A new dawn has begun… This alliance will rebuild Pakistan,” he told parliament on Sunday.

Sharif, who for years served as chief minister of Punjab province, has a reputation as an efficient administrator.

His first tasks would be to repair relations with the powerful military, as well as with the United States, and to deal with a flagging economy.