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Sharif is victorious in Pakistan election

China Daily/Agencies | Updated: 2013-05-13 10:06

Sharif is victorious in Pakistan election

Former Pakistani prime minister and head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N Nawaz Sharif waves to supporters in Lahore aft er his party victory in general elections on Saturday. [Photo/Agencies]

Toppled in a 1999 military coup, jailed and exiled, Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif has made a triumphant election comeback and looks set to form a stable government capable of implementing reforms needed to rescue its fragile economy.

Sharif may not win enough seats to rule on his own but has built up enough momentum to avoid having to form a coalition with his main rivals, former cricketer Imran Khan's Tehrik-i-Insaf and the Pakistan People's Party.

The steel magnate held off a challenge from Khan, who had hoped to break decades of dominance by Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League and the PPP, led by the Bhutto family. The two parties have formed governments whenever the military, the most powerful force in the nuclear-armed nation, has allowed civilian rule.

Khan put up a strong fight and is likely to remain a force in politics, possibly becoming the main opposition figure. The PPP, which led the government for the last five years, has done badly and could find itself in third place.

Television channels said of the results, declared by midday on Sunday, that Sharif's PML-N had captured 88 of the 272 contested National Assembly seats.

Based on trends, it was likely to get around 130 and should easily be able to make up the required majority of 137 with support from independents and small parties.

Khan's PTI secured 34 seats while the PPP won 32.

Violence deterrent

The election was marred by violence in the southern port city of Karachi, the northwest and in the southwestern province of Baluchistan. At least 29 people died in election-related attacks but people still came out in droves. Election officials said the turnout was close to 60 percent, easily eclipsing the 44 percent of voters who came to the polls in 2008.

Sharif fended off a strong challenge from the PTI. Khan, who led the country to victory in the 1992 cricket World Cup, had tapped into the frustrations of many Pakistani youths fed up with the country's traditional politicians.

But in the end Sharif and his PML-N managed a return to power. Even if he were to form a coalition government, the seat projections indicated that his party would have a much stronger grip on power than its predecessor.

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