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Pakistan

Pakistan announces general elections for July 25

Turmoil continues to rock the country after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted last year on corruption charges

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 May, 2018, 5:54am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 May, 2018, 5:54am

Pakistan will hold general elections on July 25, a presidential spokesman said Saturday.

The announcement comes as the current government enters its final week in office. It is expected to hand over power to a caretaker administration in the coming days.

Turmoil continues to rock the country after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court last July on corruption charges and later barred from politics for life.

Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan’s seven-decade history – roughly half of it under military rule – to be removed before completing a full term.

After Sharif was ousted from power, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party (PML-N) took over the premiership.

Pakistan completed its first ever democratic transfer of power following elections in 2013, when the government headed by the Pakistan People’s Party handed over to the PML-N, following a landslide victory.

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“This is the second consecutive parliament to complete its tenure and we are now looking forward to go to the people to get their verdict on our performance,” said Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.

The general elections are expected to pit the PML-N against its main rival, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by former cricket star Imran Khan.

PTI is vowing to clean up the country’s rampant corruption, while investing in education and health care as Khan inches closer to his years-long dream of leading the country as prime minister.

With Sharif out, the PML-N continue to boast of their investment in the country’s rickety infrastructure and courting billions of dollars in Chinese investment.

Since he was ousted, Sharif and the PML-N have become increasingly vocal in their confrontation with the country’s military establishment and courts, claiming they are victims of a conspiracy to reduce the power of their party.

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Despite the numerous court rulings against the PML-N, the party has won a string of recent by-elections proving it is likely to remain a powerful force.

The PML-N continues to enjoy large swathes of support in the country’s most populous Punjab province, but will enter the election under increasing pressure.