Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan won the vote of confidence for the second time on Saturday, following a surprise electoral defeat on a key seat in Senate elections held earlier this week. Khan is the leader of ruling-PTI, which leads the incumbent coalition government in Islamabad, and was elected to power in the 2018’s general elections.
Asad Qaiser, the speaker of the National Assembly, said after the vote count that Prime Minister Khan received a total of 178 votes reposing the confidence in his leadership in the 34-member lower house of the parliament. A day ahead of Saturday’s vote, the 10-party opposition alliance announced that that it would boycott the parliamentary proceedings.
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Mohsin Dawar, who won the seat as an independent candidate, was the sole member of opposition present in the chamber during the proceedings. Following the defeat of his finance minister Hafeez Sheikh, his win in confidence vote will help shore up the incumbent’s hold on power. Soon after winning the vote, Khan attacked the opposition in his address to the parliament and called on the country’s election commission to conduct an inquiry into what he called corruption in the Senate race.
Even though the ruling-PTI made several gains in the latest Senate election, Sheikh’s defeat on the key seat was seen as a big blow to Khan’s government. Under the constitution, the Senators are elected every six years by the members of provincial assemblies and the National Assembly. However, the process, conducted by secret ballot, had been long marred by accusations of vote-buying, with the outcome often resulting against party lines.
Weeks ago, Khan’s government had issued an ordinance requiring the vote to be held by public and open ballot, the country’s apex court nullified the move. During Thursday’s address to the nation, Khan alleged that opposition had been involved in corrupt practice and bought votes of ruling party’s members to win their seat.
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