Imran Khan set for victory as Pakistan MPs vote on new PM

PTI Chairman Imran Khan arriving at Parliament

His only challenger is Shahbaz Sharif, leader of the ousted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), who is not believed to have the necessary votes.

Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party holds 151 of the 342 seats in the lower chamber of parliament, short of a majority, but is expected to form a coalition government with smaller parties.

Welcoming the "change" in Pakistan's democracy with the election of Imran Khan as prime minister, he said Mr Khan should come forward in peace initiative between the two neighbours.

Votes secured by Imran Khan are the same as were polled by the party candidate for election of the Speaker.

Paying his condolences, Imran Khan said that Vajpayee's death has created a void and his effort will always be remembered.

The newly-elected National Assembly members will vote for the country's next Prime Minister today.

Rival parties have alleged "blatant" vote-rigging.

His mandate as leader will last five years. The army and Khan have denied the claims.

The PPP and PML-N have dominated Pakistani politics for decades, governing several times in between periods of military rule.

Khan and the PTI campaigned on promises to end widespread graft while building an "Islamic welfare state".

Among his first challenges will be to decide whether to request an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout to ease currency pressures, or seek support from China and risk deepening Pakistan's economic dependence on its neighbor.

He will also have to contend with the same issue as many of his predecessors: how to maintain a balance of power in civil-military relations.

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