Sharif takes office as Pakistan’s second prime minister.

Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan took the oath of office as prime minister on Monday for the second time, nearly a month after a general election that produced a divided mandate and was dogged by widespread claims of ballot fraud. Sharif’s inauguration was televised by state television from the presidential residence in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, where officials and high-ranking military personnel were present. The 72-year-old new prime minister will lead a minority coalition government, with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) serving as its two main allies.

 

Amidst strong protests from opposition members supporting the imprisoned former prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament just elected Sharif to be prime minister. In what they claim to be one of the most blatantly rigged parliamentary elections in the nation, Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI, party accuse Sharif of using the military to retake power on February 8.

 

As the most popular national party according to opinion surveys, Khan’s PTI supported candidates who won the most seats but were unable to secure a simple majority. This gave its bitter political adversaries, the PML-N and PPP, the two traditional ruling parties controlled by families, the opportunity to create a coalition government. After the parliament’s required five-year term ended in August of last year, Sharif dissolved it to allow an interim administration to conduct elections. Citing fears about terrorism, authorities in Pakistan interfered with users’ access to social media sites and restricted mobile connections on February 8, the day of the election. In addition, there was a roughly seventy-hour wait before the results were made public, which sparked claims of electoral fraud to stop PTI allies from winning big.

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