Six days from now, Pakistan will be going to vote on July 25, 2018 to elect members to their parliament, the National Assembly. The results will be out on July 27. In the July 2018 elections, 342 seats are up for grabs. Of the 342 seats, 272 are for general candidates while 60 are reserved for women and 10 seats for minorities. Pakistan Elections 2018 have been making headlines all across the globe following the bloodshed and the controversies that took place while the parties were campaigning in the run-up to elections. The key players in this election are said to be Pakistan’s World Cup winning captain Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of the Bhuttos.
The upcoming elections were overshadowed by the recent blasts in Balochistan that claimed almost 150 lives. While Imran Khan and others contesting have left no stone unturned to pave the way for their victory, several opinion polls suggest it will be a hung assembly this time with no party getting a majority to form the government.
An opinion poll conducted by IPOR in July 2018 said PMLN led by Shehbaz Sharif, the CM of Punjab Province in the absence of his more popular brother Nawaz Sharif who is debarred from contesting, is likely to emerge as the kingmaker with 32% of votes. Meanwhile, PTI is expected to get 29%. The Bilawal Bhutto Zardari-led PPP secured only 13% in the opinion poll. In order to prove the majority, a party has to win more than 136 seats in the National Assembly. Apart from July’s opinion poll, June’s opinion polls also suggested PML-N emerging as the majority party.
Apart from elections for the National Assembly, provincial polls will also be held in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on July 26. As per the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 3,459 candidates are said to be contesting for seats in the National Assembly.
The PMLN’s cup of woes is currently overflowing after former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was named in a corruption case by the National Accountability Bureau court. Apart from Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and political heir Maryam Sharif and his son-in-law Muhammad Safdar Awan and finance minister Ishaq Dar have been convicted for money laundering and corruption charges.
The PTI has been caught off-guard by random, outlandish claims made by Imran’s now divorced wife Reham Khan that he had fathered kids with Indian women, that he was gay and a drug user. It remains to be seen how these unsubstantiated claims cloud the chances for Imran who has the military’s support.