Islamabad, Pakistan / TEH: Pakistan’s parliament on Monday elected former opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif as the country’s new prime minister, replacing Imran Khan.
Opposition candidate Shahbaz, younger brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, obtained 174 votes in the 342-member National Assembly (parliament).
At least 172 votes were required for a simple majority in Parliament.
Shahbaz’s election came after a vote of no confidence in former Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Sunday, and the latter’s party withdrew from the vote on choosing a new prime minister.
Shahbaz, 70, has been central to the opposition’s efforts to overthrow Khan’s government and is due to be sworn in as Pakistan’s 23rd prime minister on Monday evening.
Shahbaz previously served as Chief Minister of the main Punjab province, where he gained a reputation as an effective administrator.
The new prime minister will remain in office for a year and a half, and Shahbaz is expected to announce his government within a day or two.
In this context, Shahbaz called for improving relations with the United States, describing it as “crucial” for Pakistan, a marked departure from Khan’s frosty relations with Washington, which he accused of orchestrating his ouster.
Khan, for his part, declared that he would not accept the “imported government” and called on his supporters to protest against the new regime.
Tens of thousands of Imran Khan’s supporters took to the streets on Sunday night across the country to protest against his ouster, describing what happened as a “foreign plot”.
On Saturday, a majority of Pakistani parliament members voted in favor of no-confidence against the government of Imran Khan, in the first successful vote of no-confidence against the prime minister in the history of Pakistan.