Despite not being able to secure a simple majority in the 266-seat National Assembly, the PML-N claims that its supreme leader Nawaz Sharif is still in the hunt for the coveted slot of prime minister for a record fourth time.
As hectic efforts to hammer out some sort of power-sharing formula in the national and Punjab assemblies continued on Monday, a party insider told Dawn the leadership had been engaged in “extensive deliberations” to decide who would be the prime ministerial candidate and lay the proposal before the PPP for approval.
“As of now, Nawaz Sharif has not been ruled out as a candidate for the PM’s slot. Since the PML-N has to lead the federal coalition, many within the Maryam Nawaz camp feel why shouldn’t [the elder Sharif] take the driving seat,” the insider said.
They added that before the polls, Mr Sharif had wished to become PM for the fourth time, but unexpected results on Feb 8 had given him second thoughts, and his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif’s name popped up as the ‘favourite’ for the coveted slot.
Party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the PML-N had not yet finalised its candidate for premiership. “Communication with coalition partners is ongoing and it will be decided with their consultation,” she told a private TV channel on Monday.
Referring to a statement by party stalwart Khawaja Asif — who had told Samaa TV that Shehbaz, not elder brother Nawaz, would be the PML-N’s PM candidate — she said it was his personal opinion and did not reflect the party’s stance. Source: Dawn