Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s party won the second largest number of votes in Pakistan’s general elections, data released on Monday showed, despite finishing third in terms of seats.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf polled 7.7 million votes in the May 11 elections to win 28 National Assembly seats, while the Pakistan Peoples Party, which led the outgoing government, took 32 seats with only 6.9 million ballots.
Turnout at the elections was 55 percent, the Election Commission of Pakistan said—up from 44 percent in the 2008 poll.
In total, 46.2 million people voted compared with 36.6 million five years ago, despite Taliban threats to attack polling stations on Election Day.
Both PTI and PPP were well behind the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) led by two-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, which took 126 seats and 14.9 million votes, according to the Election Commission. PMLN officials say they have persuaded 18 independent lawmakers to join the party, taking them comfortably beyond the 136 seats they need to be sure of a majority in the National Assembly.
In the National Assembly, 272 seats are elected directly. A further 70 seats reserved for women and minorities are distributed to parties according to the proportion of general seats they win.
Caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has sent a note to President Asif Ali Zardari asking him to convene the National Assembly on Saturday for the swearing-in of new lawmakers, according to the P.M.’s Press Secretary Shafqat Jalil. The House is expected to choose a speaker and deputy on June 3, and on June 5 it will formally elect the prime minister—Sharif, who will begin an unprecedented third term in office.
Results are still awaited from seven seats where polling was delayed due to violence or where recounts were ordered after allegations of irregularities.