Parliamentary Chamber: National Assembly


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  National Assembly

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  6 October 1993

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the members of the National Assembly following premature dissolution of this body in July 1993. General elections had previously been held in October 1990.

Background and outcome of elections:

  On 18 July 1993, following reported pressure from the military, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (Pakistan Muslim League-PML) and President of the Republic Ghulam Ishaq Khan resigned to end their heated power struggle and a caretaker government headed by Acting Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi was sworn in five days later until the October general elections. This interim administration was widely praised for stabilising the country while an often bitter one-month campaign was waged. Provincial assembly elections were for their part scheduled for 9 October.

Chief opponent to the Nawaz-group PML was the centre-left Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of former Prime Minister (from 1988 to 1990) Benazir Bhutto. As the two parties had largely similar platforms, the personalities of their leaders took on added importance. Mr. Sharif pledged justice, education and jobs for all while Ms. Bhutto criticised his economic policy, promising to pursue reforms in the sector undertaken by the caretaker government as well as to fight corruption in politics. Altogether 1,485 candidates were in the running for the National Assembly’s popularly elected seats.

Polling day, monitored by foreign observers and supervised by the army, was marked by a particularly low turnout. Balloting resulted in a hung Parliament as none of the main parties gained a controlling majority, PPP obtaining 86 seats to PML’s 72. For their part, Islamic fundamentalist candidates did not fare well. Given this inconclusive outcome, the National Assembly met to elect the new Prime Minister; Ms. Bhutto was sworn in to this post on 19 October after securing added support from minor parties and independents and thus being chosen by 121 votes to 71 for Mr. Sharif. She then named a coalition Cabinet, smaller in size than before. The results of the provincial elections favoured the PPP and were regarded as strengthening the Prime Minister’s chances of maintaining a durable government. On 14 November, former PPP Foreign Minister Ahmed Leghari was elected President by members of the national and provincial assemblies.

Round no 1 (6 October 1993): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 55,000,000 (approx.)
Voters 41%

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) 86
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) 72
Pakistan Muslim League (Junejo) 6
Islami Jamhoori Mahaz 4
Awami National Party 3
Pakistan Islamic Front 3
Pakhtoonkwa Milli Awami Party 3
Jamhoori Watan Party 2
Muttahida Deeni Mahaz 2
Baluchistan National Movement (Hai) 1
Baluchistan National Movement (Mengal) 1
National Democratic Alliance 1
National People’s Party 1
Pakhtoonkwa Qaumi Party 1
Independents 15

  These figures refer to the directly-elected members in constituencies where polling took place.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 213
Women: 4

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Copyright 1993 Inter-Parliamentary Union