Imran Khan's PTI Claims Pakistan Majority After Coalition Talks

(Bloomberg) -- Imran Khan’s party said it has formed a majority in Pakistan’s parliament after coalition talks with smaller groups and independent lawmakers, paving the way for the former cricket star to take over as prime minister.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or Movement for Justice, has 174 members of the national assembly on its side so far, above the 172 needed for an absolute majority, Fawad Hussain Chaudhary, a PTI spokesman, said on Monday. The break through came after Khan’s party held successful negotiations with groups such as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Grand Democratic Alliance and independents after the PTI only won 116 seats during last month’s elections.

“We will be around 180 to 182 in the National Assembly ultimately,” Chaudhary told reporters in Islamabad.

Khan was also unsurprisingly chosen as the PTI’s parliamentary leader and will likely become prime minister when the national assembly convenes. He will however probably face resurgent opposition from the former incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party, which have alleged that Khan won through widespread rigging after a controversial election campaign marred by concerns of military manipulation. Eight rival parties rejected the results, but said they will take opposition seats.

Beyond forming a government, Khan’s most pressing concern is addressing Pakistan’s rapidly deteriorating finances and many investors and analysts expect a bailout from China or the International Monetary Fund is inevitable. Asad Umar, the incoming finance minister, told Bloomberg News last week that Pakistan may need more than $12 billion to halt a looming financial crisis and a decision needs to be taken within six weeks on where to source the amount.

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