New Pakistan PM to be elected on Sunday; PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif frontrunner 

Candidates can submit their nomination papers by Saturday

FILES-PAKISTAN-POLITICS Pakistan's former Prime Minister and leader of the PML-N party Shehbaz Sharif | AFP

Shehbaz Sharif is set to become Pakistan's new Prime Minister on Sunday with the National Assembly Secretariat on Thursday announcing the schedule for the election of the head of the government.

According to the schedule, candidates can submit their nomination papers by Saturday, 2 pm. The scrutiny of the papers will be completed the same day.

It said that the procedure for the election of the premier was given to the newly elected lawmakers.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has nominated Shehbaz Sharif, 72, for the slot of prime minister while Omer Ayub Khan is the pick of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N has received the support of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to lead a coalition government after the February 8 elections resulted in a hung Parliament.

The agreement means Sharif is on course to become prime minister for a second time. Shehbaz earlier served as prime minister when the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's government was ousted in April 2022. The PML-N party president served as prime minister for 16 months till August 2023 when fresh elections were announced.

Both Shehbaz and Bilawal have asserted that they have enough support to form a coalition government.

Under the power-sharing deal, 68-year-old Asif Ali Zardari of the PPP will be the coalition's candidate to become president - an office he previously held from 2008 to 2013.

According to the Constitution, a party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly to form a government.

Independent candidates - a majority backed by Khan's PTI - won 93 National Assembly seats. The PML-N won 75 seats while the PPP came third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has 17 seats.

That left PML-N and PPP to ally along with four smaller parties to keep Khan's PTI out of power.

Meanwhile, elections for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly will be held on March 1, incumbent Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf has announced. The elections will be held through secret ballot.

PML-N's Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, and PTI-backed Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar have submitted their nomination papers for the post of the Speaker. Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah and Junaid Akbar's names have been proposed by the treasury and opposition benches respectively for the post of deputy speaker. 


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