Two weeks after the election, the exact number of seats isn’t entirely set, but the Pakistani Muslim League-N (PML-N) is finally confirmed to have achieved a simple majority, bolstered by the induction of 18 independent MPs, and ensuring Nawaz Sharif will be the next prime minister of Pakistan.
The final split of the reserved seats still has to be decided, but the current estimates but PML-N at 181 seats, well over the 172 needed for a simple majority, and meaning that while they may still invite in coalition partners, they don’t really need them.
It is no small advantage for the PML-N not to have to rely on smaller, religiously conservative partners for their majority, and will allow Nawaz Sharif, who was formally nominated as the party’s choice for prime minister today, to implement economic and foreign policy reforms without having to consult with partners.
It also means his “nomination” as prime minister is entirely a formality, as his own party holds enough votes to confirm him without any chance of failure.
Indeed the only meaningful point to bringing other partners on board would be if the PML-N wants to oust President Asif Ali Zardari from his post, as that would require a two-thirds majority vote. Zardari’s position is essentially powerless without parliamentary support, however, so there is likely no rush in chasing him out.