Yesterday saw Mr Nawaz Sharif’s interim replacement, the new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi voted in to power with an overwhelming majority – 221 votes. His victory was all but assured, after all, PML-N has over 180 seats in the National Assembly – provided none of its members voted against the selected candidate, this would have been sufficient to get Mr Abbasi elected. But PML-N went the extra mile – it approached MQM-P and convinced the party to support the PML-N and drop their own candidate – raking in 24 extra votes to provide the extra cushion needed for a very comfortable victory.

The opposition’s role in this election was practically inconsequential – PTI threw their weight behind Awami Muslim League Chief Shiekh Rasheed without consulting other opposition parties, prompting PPP to prop up candidates of their own. After an initial five, there were a total of three opposition candidates for the position by election time, all but ensuring that none of them even so much as threatened Mr Abbasi’s assent to the Premiership.

While opposition parties squabbled amongst themselves, PML-N wisely consolidated its power, ensured that party dissidents were wooed, allies were made to pledge their support and even some within the opposition were brought into confidence. The fact that MQM-P dropped its own candidate in favour of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi tells us that the PML-N focused its energies on retaining control at a time when it was needed the most.

The interim Prime Minister will have his hands full from the first day of coming into power – there are still questions of who his cabinet members will be, and the statements from Mr Abbasi so far imply that he will leave this decision to the party leadership i.e Mr Nawaz Sharif. It remains to be seen whether the former PM will attempt to keep things consistent by keeping most current ministers in their positions. However, certain important changes are to be expected, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar chief among them.

It is important to remember that this is only a stop-gap measure at the end of the day – Shehbaz Sharif has been announced as the Prime Minister for the remainder of this term, provided he gets voted into the National Assembly on his brother’s vacant seat. The younger Sharif brother has his own unique style of leadership, a hands-on approach with a selected few reporting directly to the current Punjab Chief Minister. This might even mean that Mr Sharif holds on to even more ministry portfolios than his brother, alongside giving more than one responsibility to a few trusted individuals.

However, before any of this, the next forty-five days need to pass without further incidents.