PML-N and PPP: A Coalition in the Making with Bilawal as PM?

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) are in talks to form a coalition government. The negotiations follow the February 8 general elections, where the PML-N emerged as the largest political party but fell short of a majority.

The PML-N President, Shehbaz Sharif, informed party leaders that the former president, Asif Zardari, has demanded the prime minister’s slot for his son, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. In return, the PPP would support the PML-N in forming a government in Punjab.

The PML-N leadership met on Saturday to discuss various options for government formation. The meeting, chaired by Shehbaz Sharif, was attended by prominent party leaders, including Senator Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, Attaullah Tarar, and Khawaja Imran Nazir.

Despite being the largest political party in the country, the PML-N cannot form a government on its own and needs the support of other political parties or independent candidates. The party leadership was reportedly shocked by the election results, which were vastly different from their expectations. Critics within the party have blamed overconfidence and a lack of attention to public rallies, door-to-door campaigns, mass public campaigns, and direct contacts with voters, especially on election day.

The PML-N is currently exploring a coalition with the PPP but is reluctant to concede the prime minister’s slot. If negotiations with the PPP fail, the PML-N plans to form a coalition government with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), and other smaller parties, including independents and electables. In this scenario, Shehbaz Sharif would become the prime minister, and Maryam Nawaz, the Chief Minister of Punjab.

However, party leaders have been directed to consider more options for the future formation of the government in the Centre, Punjab, and Balochistan. The three largest parties, PML-N, PPP, and the independents affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are in the running to form the next governments.

The PML-N initiated discussions with the PPP on Saturday for the establishment of federal and provincial governments. The outcome of these negotiations will significantly impact the political landscape of Pakistan.

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