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Imran Khan elected Pakistan PM, to take oath tomorrow

Imran Khan

Islamabad: Pakistani lawmakers of Friday elected Imran Khan as their next prime minister, ahead of a ceremony on Saturday that should see the former cricketer sworn in as leader of the nuclear-armed nation.

Khan was elected by 176 votes compared to the 96 of his opposition rival Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Khan, who will be sworn-in on Saturday at the President’s House in Islamabad, is yet to announce his cabinet.

The election has paved the way for Khan to form a coalition government whose first major task will be to avert a brewing economic crisis.

Khan, 65, saw his party sweep to victory in a July 25 general election promising to fight corruption and lift millions of people out of poverty.

Pakistan has been plagued by boom-and-bust cycles and military coups since independence in 1947, as well as by militant violence in more recent years.

Khan, a firebrand nationalist, has promised to create millions of jobs and build world-class hospital and school systems in the mainly-Muslim country of 208 million people.

Among his first challenges will be to decide whether to request an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout to ease currency pressures, or seek support from China and risk deepening Pakistan’s economic dependence on its neighbour.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party holds 151 seats in the 342-seat lower chamber of parliament, short of a majority, but is expected to form a coalition government with smaller parties.

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