(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's likely new prime minister Imran Khan opened coalition talks with at least one smaller party and independent politicians on Saturday, a spokesman said, following the announcement of full results of an election disputed by rivals.
Khan's party scooped up 16.86 million votes in a better-than-expected performance, trouncing the party of jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif, which finished second with 12.89 million votes.But the 116 seats won by Khan's lawmakers were not enough to give him a majority in the 272-seat National Assembly without coalition partners, and he has ruled out both of the other two major parties, calling them corrupt.
Officials from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice party, said they were in talks with independent candidates and at least one other political party to form a coalition government.
"We are pretty much there in the National Assembly... talks are going on with MQM as well," Faisal Javed Khan, a senior PTI spokesman, told Reuters.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), has dominated politics in the port megacity of Karachi for decades, and won six seats in the general election after the party split with its longtime leader, Altaf Hussain.
He added that Khan was expected to take the oath as prime minister around August 14, which is Pakistan's independence day.
In a news conference, Naeem Ul Haq, a spokesman for PTI, told reporters that the party would form a government in Pakistan's most populous province of Punjab as well and there would "good news" by Sunday.
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