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As the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has nearly secured a simple majority in the Punjab Assembly, it is evident that the party will form the provincial government. However, the question on many minds is: Who will be the new Chief Minister of Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan?
Both the party president, Shehbaz Sharif, and his niece, Maryam Nawaz, who is the chief organizer of the party, are strong candidates for the chief ministerial position. Both have won provincial seats along with seats in the National Assembly. Maryam Nawaz has secured a seat in the Punjab Assembly from PA-159 Lahore, while Shehbaz Sharif has won from PA-158 Lahore. Both leaders have also secured National Assembly seats.
According to political analysts, if Nawaz Sharif becomes the Prime Minister, he may appoint his daughter Maryam as a federal minister, particularly in the foreign minister role. However, if Nawaz Sharif does not become the PM and Shehbaz Sharif assumes premiership, Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N supremo, may designate his daughter as the Chief Minister of Punjab.
Shehbaz Sharif has served as the Chief Minister of Punjab three times and has also been the Prime Minister for almost two years following the ousting of Imran Khan. In contrast, Maryam Nawaz has entered Parliament for the first time.
It should be noted that the PML-N has secured a simple majority in the Punjab Assembly, winning 139 seats out of 297 general seats in the house. The total composition of the Punjab Assembly is 371 seats, including 297 general seats, 66 reserved seats for women, and 8 reserved seats for non-Muslims.
Approximately 135 Independent candidates have won seats in the Punjab Assembly, with most of them belonging to the PTI. Official results indicate that the PPP has secured 10 seats in the Punjab Assembly, while the PML-Q has won 8 seats.
Notably, most reserved seats are expected to favor the PML-N, allowing it to achieve a clear majority in the house without the support of any other party. However, both the PML-Q and PPP are likely to support the party in Punjab. Additionally, there is a likelihood that some independent candidates may join the PML-N in the province.
On the other hand, the PML-N is also positioned to form the government at the center with the support of the PPP and other small parties.