The Pakistani parliament’s lower house will meet on Monday to vote for a new prime minister after it removed Imran Khan from the premiership in a no-confidence vote in the early hours of Sunday, the acting speaking has said.
Ayaz Sadiq, presiding over the assembly session in the absence of the ruling party members and its designated speakers, said nomination papers for candidates should be filed by 11am local time (06:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Khan, 69, lost the vote of confidence after being deserted by coalition partners who blame him for a crumbling economy and failure to deliver on his campaign promises.
“As far as governance was concerned, the government had totally failed,” Senator Anwaar ul Haq Kakar of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), a coalition ally that withdrew support for Khan in late March, told Al Jazeera.
“There was disgruntlement for the past two years,” he said.
The result of the no-confidence vote, which was the culmination of a 13-hour session that included repeated delays, was announced just before 1am (20:00 GMT on Saturday) by Sadiq.
Parliamentary elections are not due until August 2023. However, the opposition has said it wants early elections, but only after it delivered a political defeat to Khan and passes legislation it says is required to ensure the next polls are free and fair.
Khan’s removal extends Pakistan’s unenviable record for political instability: no prime minister has completed their full term since independence from Britain in 1947, although Khan is the first to be removed through a no-confidence vote.
He surged to power in 2018 with the military’s support, but recently lost his parliamentary majority when allies quit Khan’s coalition government. There were also signs he had lost the military’s support, analysts said.
Khan was overthrown after more than three years as leader of the nuclear-armed country of 220 million, where the military has ruled for nearly half of the country’s near 75-year history of independence.
Sunday’s vote followed multiple adjournments in the chamber, called due to lengthy speeches by members of Khan’s party, who said there was a conspiracy by the United States to remove the cricket star turned politician.
Opposition parties were able to secure 174 votes in the 342-member house in support of the no-confidence motion, Sadiq said, making it a majority vote.
“Consequently the motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan has been passed,” he said to the thumping of desks in the chamber.
Khan, who was not present for the vote, had no immediate comment.
Just a few legislators of Khan’s ruling party – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) or Pakistan Movement for Justice – were present for the vote.
The frontrunner to become Pakistan’s next prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, said Khan’s removal was a chance for a new beginning.
“A new dawn has started … This alliance will rebuild Pakistan,” Sharif, 70, said in parliament.