Pakistan general elections 2018: Coalition government a possibility?

Imran Khan wants to create a 'New Pakistan,' many fear more of the same

Former cricket star Imran Khan has declared victory in Pakistan's election, boosting stocks as investors bet he would be able to form a stable government that could address the nation's financial woes after a vote tarred by rigging allegations.

"God has given me a chance to come to power to implement that ideology which I started 22 years ago", Khan, 65, said in a televised speech from his house near the capital Islamabad.

The party of Khan's jailed chief rival, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, called the count an assault on democracy in the nuclear-armed, Muslim country which has a history of military rule.

"Outspoken cricketer-turned-politician" Khan is seeking to lead Pakistan, having "appealed to the masses, especially the younger generation", with promises of "rooting out corruption" to create a "new Pakistan", says Al Jazeera.

Mr Khan, who has led a relentless anti-graft campaign, had the momentum heading into the election, and is seen as the military's top choice for prime minister despite his denials.

Any government will also compete for influence over foreign policy with Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled for much of the nation's history and faced accusations of meddling in the campaign - allegations it denied.

Preliminary and unofficial poll results on Thursday indicated that Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has obtained a clear edge over the other parties, leading in over 119 National Assembly seats, a day after Pakistan voted for its second consecutive democratic transfer of power.

Election authorities have not yet confirmed when they expect to announce the results.

"It is a sheer rigging". Reports inform that Nawaz Sharif's PML-N party has seen Punjab as its home base and has been in power in the past.

The army, which dismisses allegations of meddling, deployed 371,000 soldiers at polling stations across the country, almost five times the number as in last election in 2013. "I wanted Pakistan to become the country that my leader Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had dreamed of", he said.

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Any potential delays in forming a government would be worrisome, as Pakistan faces a mounting economic crisis that is likely to require a bailout by the International Monetary Fund and worsening relations with on-off ally the United States.

The results had been due by around 2 am local time (10pm BST on Wednesday).

"There's no conspiracy, nor any pressure in delay of the results".

"I chose to join politics 22 years back when I saw collapse of governance system and corruption in Pakistan", the cricketer-turned-politician said.

With 30 percent of the total vote counted, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice, was listed by the ECP as leading in 113 of 272 contested National Assembly constituencies.

In Punjab, with results from 19 percent polling stations available with ECP, PML-N is now leading the race with 137 provincial seats but PTI is closing in with 115 seats.

There was no official confirmation of results from Pakistan's election commission nearly 24 hours after polls closed in Wednesday's vote but partial, unofficial tallies showed Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party enjoying a clear lead.

Early on Thursday, Sharif's brother Shehbaz, who now leads the PML-N, rejected the results after complaints that soldiers stationed in polling stations had thrown out poll monitors from political parties during the counting. This has also affected the traditional election fervour. The better ties between Pakistan and India will bode well for the region.

This leaves PTI to consider one of the smaller parties or independent candidates to form a coalition. The reserved will be allocated to the political parties according to their proportional representation in the house.

About India, Mr. Khan said he was saddened over the way Indian media portrayed him.

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