It is a day of considerable excitement in Pakistan: the day of the election of the Prime Minister (PM). If we judge by the election for the speaker, it seems that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is on its way to another smooth victory. Despite PTI not having a simple majority in the general election and having to rely on independents, the party’s candidate Asad Qaiser received an ample vote count of 176, cementing himself as speaker of the National Assembly. The speaker’s election was an easier match for the opposition to win, due to the political experience of rival Khurshid Shah, yet the fact that it lost by a sizable number implies that Imran Khan may manage a greater victory for the PM election.
The speaker elections in the provincial assemblies also hint towards the same trend, with predictable results in Sindh and KPK. Perhaps the most revealing result came in Punjab, where despite PML-N having more seats than any party, Pervaiz Elahi, whose party won 8 seats, was sworn in as the speaker, with the help of PTI. This should have been surprising considering PML-N being adamant on reigning in Punjab, but perhaps the party’s lacklustre efforts to retain its majority is a clue that things will not go too well for the opposition in the federal assembly either.
This is in contrast to the anti-PTI sentiment uniting the opposition parties right after the elections, that had lead predictions that the PTI government would have to face a tough opposition. Yet, as the main leaders like Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto have slowly shied away from steering into a confrontational approach, the opposition fervour has died away and seems to give PTI an easy path to the Prime Minister-ship, leaving only the few party members in the visitor galleries during the speaker elections to voice their concerns and show revolt to the government.