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PTI Falls Short of Outright Majority

by AFP and Newsweek Pakistan

Aamir Qureshi—AFP

With only 9 seats left to count, Imran Khan’s party has commanding lead of 115 parliamentarians in National Assembly

Imran Khan has won disputed Pakistan elections but has fallen short of an outright majority, according to official results announced on Friday that indicate he will need to enter into a coalition to form a government.

A jubilant Khan has already declared victory in the pivotal vote, which has drawn allegations of massive vote rigging in his favor.

The Election Commission said on Friday that with only nine seats left to count, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) enjoys a strong lead with 115 seats, and will be the biggest party in Parliament.

At a press conference the commission said that the outgoing PMLN had 62 seats and the PPP, which could prove kingmaker in a coalition government, had won 43. The count indicates PTI will not achieve the 137 seats needed in the National Assembly to form a majority government in its own right.

Election officials are under fire for the lack of a full official result two days after ballots closed, an unprecedented delay that observers say has undermined the legitimacy of the exercise.

The ECP has dismissed allegations of manipulation—blaming the delay in the results, an unofficial version of which had been expected late Wednesday, on technical glitches.

International observers, including a European Union delegation, are due to give their preliminary assessments of the vote later on Friday, after rival parties, including the PMLN, alleged “blatant” rigging.

The vote is the third democratic transition in the country, which has been ruled by the Army for roughly half its history, but has been marred by violence and allegations of military interference.

Khan, a 65-year-old former cricket star, claimed victory in a wide-ranging address to the nation on Thursday. “We were successful and we were given a mandate,” he said from his home in Islamabad.

The former all-rounder’s statement came after his supporters took to the streets to celebrate winning an election that opponents have alleged was fixed for him.

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