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Islamabad: Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president, was elected unopposed as the new prime minister of Pakistan by parliament on Monday after rival candidate Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party will boycott the voting and staged a walkout.
Shehbaz, 70, was the only candidate left in the race after Qureshi’s boycott of the election in the National Assembly.
In the House of 342, the winning candidate requires the support of at least 172 lawmakers.
Shehbaz, the younger brother of former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, received 174 votes – two more than the simple majority of 172.
He will be the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan.
He has served as chief minister of the country’s most populous and politically crucial Punjab province thrice.
Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chair Asif Ali Zardari had proposed Shehbaz’s name for the prime minister’s position in a joint opposition meeting to replace Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion.
The process of electing the new leader of the House began on Sunday after prime minister Imran Khan was removed from office through the no-confidence vote, becoming the first premier in the country’s history to be sent home after losing the trust of the House.
Pakistan has struggled with political instability since its formation in 1947 with multiple regime changes and military coups. No prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term.