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Pakistani President Arif Alvi dissolved the country’s parliament Sunday following a request by Prime Minister Imran Khan, a move that plunges Pakistan into a constitutional crisis and possible snap polls, NPR reported.
Alvi’s move came a few days after a number of lawmakers from Khan’s party and a key coalition ally defected to the opposition, which had announced a motion of no-confidence against the prime minister last month.
The opposition needed a simple majority of 172 votes in Pakistan’s 342-seat parliament to oust the prime minister, a motion that he was expected to lose. But on Sunday, the parliament’s deputy speaker blocked the vote with Khan later asking the president to dissolve the legislature, CNN added.
Khan later addressed the nation to prepare for elections and called on his supporters to march in the streets to protest the no-confidence vote. The opposition criticized the moves as “unconstitutional” and said they would challenge them in the Supreme Court.
The recent political upheaval marks the latest escalation between Khan and the opposition. The prime minister has been accused of economic mismanagement. His opponents have also questioned his legitimacy following allegations that Pakistan’s powerful army helped his party win the 2018 elections.
Khan, however, has accused his opponents of involvement in a conspiracy with foreign powers to unseat him over his foreign policy choices that often favor China and Russia.