PTI-Backed Independent Candidates Emerge as Game Changers in Post-Election Scenario
ISLAMABAD, Feb 10,2024: In a surprising turn of events, independent candidates backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have become the focal point in the race for the prime minister’s office, turning the parliamentary landscape into a potential hung parliament. As the dust settles on the election results, contenders are strategizing to secure the support of these influential independent winners to form a majority government.
The loyalty of these independent candidates, who secured victory under the PTI’s banner, remains uncertain, as they are not legally bound to follow party discipline. Some successful candidates were initially nominated only after the rejection of their party’s preferred choices, adding an element of unpredictability to the political scenario.
In a ‘victory’ speech, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose aspirations for a fourth term face challenges after PTI’s unexpected surge, expressed readiness to collaborate with independents to address the country’s crises. Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, another contender for the prime minister’s seat, expressed hope that many independent winners would align with his party, dismissing the possibility of a coalition government with PML-N.
The upcoming days are expected to witness intense political negotiations, as both PML-N and PPP vie for the support of independent candidates. Analysts speculate that alluring offers, including ministerial portfolios, chairmanships of standing committees, and appointments as parliamentary secretaries, will be extended to secure their allegiance.
The leadership skills of Barrister Gohar Ali will be put to the test during this period, with observers closely monitoring his ability to command the loyalty of the independent winners.
Under Rule 92(6) of the election rules, independent candidates have a three-day window after the official notification of their victory to join a party. Alternatively, they may form a group with any name of their choosing. Staying united and opting for the opposition benches could position them favorably to claim the role of the opposition leader in the National Assembly.
The PTI’s ‘independent brigade’ faces a setback as they were denied the chance to contest the polls under the party’s symbol due to their technical ‘independent’ status. Consequently, the party does not qualify for a share in reserved seats.
With the National Assembly’s total strength reduced to 336 seats under the 25th Amendment, parties need the support of at least 169 lawmakers to form the government. As of the latest results, independents lead with 99 seats out of the announced 245 constituencies, while PML-N and PPP have won 69 and 52 seats, respectively.
The stage is set for a dynamic post-election period, where the actions and decisions of independent candidates will play a decisive role in shaping the future government.