The rival parties of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Tuesday that they had reached a coalition government agreement that plans to field Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister.

Mr. Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the largest number of seats in the National Assembly in the February 8 legislative elections, but now finds itself excluded from power following this agreement.

“Pakistan People's Party and Nawaz's Pakistan Muslim League have reached the required number (of seats) and we will form a government,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the PPP, said at a press conference in Islamabad.

This alliance between Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) puts an end to several days of negotiations.

According to this agreement, the PML-N, which came in second place, and the PPP will propose Shehbaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz Sharif, for the post of Prime Minister, and former president Asif Ali Zardari (2008-2013), husband of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, for president.

“We hope that Shehbaz Sharif will soon become the Prime Minister of the country and the whole of Pakistan should pray for the success of the government,” continued PPP's Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

“We are facing considerable challenges (…). We must get Pakistan out of these difficulties,” Shehbaz Sharif, for his part, underlined at a press conference.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also clarified that the coalition parties had agreed on the ministerial portfolios, which will be detailed in the coming days.

The two parties, led by two major political dynasties in the country, had already joined forces in 2022 to oust Imran Khan from power with a vote of no confidence before forming a coalition until the dissolution of the National Assembly in August before the elections.

The elected deputies must sit for the first time on February 29, three weeks after the vote, the date on which the coalition must be approved.

Widespread allegations of manipulation tarnished the elections, with a mobile phone network suspended on polling day and a count taking more than 24 hours.

The PTI denounced massive fraud and claimed to have won enough seats to be able to govern.

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