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Pakistani lawmakers approved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan over the weekend, a vote that plunges the country into a political crisis and early elections amid economic woes, the New York Times reported.
Lawmakers passed the motion with 174 votes in Pakistan’s 342-seat parliament, slightly more than the required simple majority.
The no-confidence vote began in early March when opposition parties accused the former-cricket-star-turned-politician of mishandling the country’s economy. Political analysts added that the move came after Khan also lost the support of Pakistan’s powerful military.
Khan said that his opponents were part of a United States-backed conspiracy to oust him from power over his foreign policy choices that often favor China and Russia.
Initially, the vote was slated to take place on April 3, but Khan and his allies dissolved the parliament and called for new elections. Then last week, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that Khan’s move violated the constitution and ordered the vote to proceed over the weekend.
Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif – the younger brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – is expected to become interim prime minister and lead the country to early elections.
Despite his ouster, observers noted that Khan showed no signs of backing down and will run in the snap poll.
Since the country’s founding 75 years ago, no prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term in Pakistan, because of instability and military coups.
Even so, Khan is the first in the country’s history to be removed through a no-confidence vote.