Pakistani lawmakers elected former cricket legend Imran Khan prime minister on Friday, paving the way for him to form a coalition government whose first major task will be to avert a brewing economic crisis, Al-Arabiya has said.
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 neighbor.
“Imran Khan got 176 votes,” Asad Qaiser, the parliament speaker, said in confirming Khan’s victory over rival candidate, Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), who garnered 96 votes.
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.
Khan, who will be sworn-in on Saturday, has yet to announce his cabinet.