Imran Khan’s party said it has begun talks with independents and small parties to form a coalition government after a resounding triumph in Pakistan’s general election.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won 115 seats in Wednesday’s ballot, short of the 137 needed for a simple majority.
The latest tally, which was updated Saturday afternoon following long delays, showed the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party in distant second place with 64 seats.
Khan’s party has begun reaching out to potential coalition partners to form a government, according to spokesman Fawad Chaudhry, a task that analysts said should be straightforward.
“We have contacted small parties and independent members, they will soon meet party leaders in Islamabad,” Chaudhry said late Friday.
A PTI representative later added that the party was hoping to form a government within two weeks before Pakistan’s independence day celebrations on August 14.
“We expect that Imran Khan will take the oath as a prime minister before August 14,” PTI representative Naeem ul Haq told reporters Saturday.
More than a dozen parties calling themselves the All Parties Conference (APC) promised to protest over the results.
However the group remained divided with some parties pledging to boycott joining the National Assembly and others calling for a new vote.
The PML-N announced its support for the group but stopped short of saying it would boycott the new parliament.
And the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which was notably absent from the APC, said in a separate announcement that it rejected the results, but vowed to try to convince the other parties to participate in the parliamentary process.
Khan’s victory represents an end to decades of rotating leadership between the PML-N and the Bhutto dynasty’s PPP.
The former cricket star will face myriad challenges, including militancy, an economic crisis with speculation that Pakistan will have to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and water shortages.