Imran Khan has won a disputed Pakistan election but has fallen short of an outright majority, according to official results announced Friday that indicate he will need to enter into a coalition to form a government.
A jubilant Khan has already declared victory in the pivotal vote, which has drawn allegations of massive vote-rigging in his favour.
The Election Commission said Friday that with only 11 seats left to count, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) enjoys a strong lead with 114 seats, and will be the biggest party in parliament.
At a press conference the commission said that the outgoing Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had 63 seats and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which could prove kingmaker in a coalition government, had won 43. However, the PPP, led by Bilawal Bhutto, son of the assasinated Benazir Bhutto, has also rejected the results and vowed it would mount a legal challenge.
The count indicates PTI will not achieve the 137 seats needed in the National Assembly to form a majority government in its own right.
Election officials are under fire for the lack of a full official result two days after ballots closed, an unprecedented delay that observers say has undermined the legitimacy of the exercise.
The ECP has dismissed allegations of manipulation – blaming the delay in the results, an unofficial version of which had been expected late Wednesday, on technical glitches.
International observers, including a European Union delegation, are due to give their preliminary assessments of the vote on Friday, after rival parties, including the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, alleged “blatant” rigging.
The vote is meant to be a rare democratic transition in the nuclear-armed Muslim country, which has been ruled by the powerful army for roughly half its history, but has been marred by violence and allegations of military interference.
Khan, a 65-year-old former cricket star, claimed victory in a wide-ranging address to the nation Thursday.
“We were successful and we were given a mandate,” he said from his home in the capital Islamabad.
The former all-rounder’s statement came after his supporters took to the streets to celebrate winning an election that opponents have said the military fixed for him.