Punjab’s legislative assembly elects a new chief minister today for the Pakistani province.
The vote comes amid a political crisis in Pakistan sparked by the deputy speaker of the National Assembly blocking a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. Khan immediately asked President Arif Alvi to dissolve the legislature and call new elections, which Alvi did. The no-confidence vote was expected to succeed after the center-left MQM-P party left the centrist PTI’s governing coalition amid economic troubles.
Punjab, which contains roughly half of Pakistan’s population, saw a simultaneous vote of no confidence in its PTI chief minister, who subsequently resigned. Two candidates—the centrist PML-Q’s Parvez Elahi, backed by the PTI, and the center-right PML-N’s Hazma Shabaz, leader of the Punjabi opposition—are in the running to replace him.
The results of today’s vote will give momentum to one side of the national crisis. If the PML-Q and MQM-P rally around Elahi, Khan may hope to reform the ruling coalition. If the PML-Q can reach a majority for theirs, then a PTI defeat seems likely. If the deadlock remains—the likeliest option—expect more political chaos; in Punjab, the federally-appointed governor will likely step in.
Connor is a Content Editor and Analyst on the Daily Brief team and a member of the Communications team. His primary research focus is Latin America