Pakistani PM, Khan to face confidence vote

Pakistani PM, Khan to face confidence vote

Saturday, March 6, 2021 10:25 am

President Imran Khan of Pakistan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will on Saturday face a vote of confidence in parliament, days after the country’s ruling coalition lost a crucial Senate seat.

Khan volunteered to face the confidence vote after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party’s candidate was defeated in a Senate election by a former prime minister earlier this week.

The opposition candidate secured 169 votes compared to 164 for Khan’s party’s candidate, who is the incumbent finance minister.

The defeat means the government no longer has a majority in the parliamentary chamber that elects the prime minister.

Khan, who is midway through his five-year term, needs 172 votes in the 342-seat National Assembly to retain the confidence of the house.

PTI has 157 MPs in the lower house.

Khan was backed by 176 members when elected prime minister in 2018.

Political analysts say Khan will need the backing of all his coalition partners in the confidence vote.

He came to power in national elections since tainted by allegations that the country’s powerful military supported him.

Pakistan’s generals have ruled the country for decades and are accused of manoeuvring to handpick civilian governments to block the way of democratic leaders.

Though Khan denies benefiting from military support, he turned to the army after losing the key senate election.

Khan held a meeting with army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the head of the country’s spy agency on Thursday which many believe was linked to his confidence vote.

On Friday, the multi-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) announced that the opposition would boycott the special session. (dpa/NAN)

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