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Nawaz Sharif claims victory in Pakistan

12 May 2013 05:05 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif claimed victory in a jubilant speech to supporters as results from Saturday's election showed a clear lead for his party, making it almost certain that he will become prime minister of the country for a third time.

The election, in which 86 million people were eligible to vote, will bring the first transition between civilian governments in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history.

Despite pre-election violence and attacks on Saturday that killed at least 17 people, millions turned out to cast a ballot.

"Results are still coming in, but this much is confirmed: we're the single largest party so far," he declared to hoots of joy from the crowd. "Please pray that by morning we're in a position that we don't need the crutch of coalition partners."

With the count continuing into the night, Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) was leading in 119 of the 272 National Assembly seats that were contested.

Sharif's lead means he is almost certain to become prime minister again, a triumphant return for a political leader who was ousted in a military coup in 1999, jailed and later exiled.

It remains to be seen, however, if his PML-N will have enough lawmakers to rule on its own or be forced to seek coalition allies, which could make it difficult to push reforms desperately needed to revive a near-failed economy.

The next government will have to contend with Taliban militancy, endemic corruption, chronic power cuts and crumbling infrastructure in the nuclear-armed country of 180 million people. One of the first likely tasks will be to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for a multi-billion-dollar bailout.

It is now clear that a dark-horse challenge by the party of former cricket star Imran Khan did not have the momentum needed to trip up Sharif, a moneyed political veteran who has long relied on a patronage system to win votes, especially in the key province of Punjab.

Still, Imran Khan's Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) looked set to squeak into second place thanks to support from urban youths, who rallied behind his calls for an end to corruption and a halt to U.S. drone strikes against suspected militants on Pakistani soil.

That marks an end to decades of two-party dominance by the PML-N and Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

The PPP led the government for the past five years with 124 lawmakers in parliament. Eight hours after polling stations closed on Saturday it was ahead in the count for just 34 seats.

"Nawaz's victory says two things about Pakistan: one, the people of Pakistan prefer the comfort of status quo over the uncertainty of revolutions; and two, all roads to the centre go through Punjab, and in Punjab, people are right-leaning and conservative," said senior journalist Nusrat Javeed.

"Still, for a party that only really arrived on the political scene in a serious way two years ago, PTI's performance was remarkable, to say the least."(Reuters)
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  Comments - 9

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  • King Kong Sunday, 12 May 2013 07:04 AM

    So this is an end of Mr.10% there, Lets hope the same here too in future election.

    truth hurts Monday, 13 May 2013 04:59 AM

    finally a decent politician in Pakistan....not a good sign for Sri Lanka though!!!!

    The King Sunday, 12 May 2013 07:49 AM

    Nawaz Sharif, Congratulations! Invite Imran Khan as well. Imran too is a genuine politician to develop Pakistan.

    zavahir Sunday, 12 May 2013 09:00 AM

    Imran will lead to Pakistan very soon. He got the world cup after several losses.

    Mutu Sunday, 12 May 2013 09:35 AM

    No computer jilmart?

    mohan Monday, 13 May 2013 10:18 AM

    Mr. Nawaz Congratulations. but don't forger your friend Mr. Farvez musaraf,

    idroos2002 Sunday, 12 May 2013 05:22 AM

    Insha allah Pakistan Doomed, Sharifs victory would lead Pakistan to doom after the short euphoria of the victory celebrations pakistan is doomed. Sharif and Zardaris only are interested making black money of the public white.Only THI is the party for pakistan future. PTI would grow further wait patiently.

    ANTON Sunday, 12 May 2013 05:51 AM

    NOW IMRAN KHAN CAN JOIN PAKISTAN CRICKET SELECTION BOARD.

    Basith Sunday, 12 May 2013 12:00 AM

    May God save Pakistan!! via DM Android App


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