Pakistan will hold general elections on July 25, a presidential spokesman said Saturday, offering the prospect of what would be only the second ever democratic transfer of power in the nuclear-armed country.
“The president has approved July 25 as the date for holding general elections in the country,” a spokesman from Mamnoon Hussain’s office told AFP.
The date was also confirmed by the government of Pakistan’s Twitter account and was reported by state media outlets.
The announcement comes as the current government enters its final week in office. It is expected to hand over power to a caretaker administration in the coming days.
Turmoil continues to rock the country after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court last July on corruption charges and later barred from politics for life.
Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan’s 70-year history -- roughly half of it under military rule -- to be removed before completing a full term.
After Sharif was ousted from power, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party (PML-N) took over the premiership.
Pakistan completed its first ever democratic transfer of power following elections in 2013, when the government headed by the Pakistan People’s Party handed over to the PML-N, following a landslide victory.
The general elections are largely expected to pit the PML-N against its main rival, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by former cricket star Imran Khan.
Since he was ousted, Sharif and the PML-N have become increasingly vocal in their confrontation with the country’s military establishment and courts, claiming they are victims of a conspiracy to reduce the power of their party.
Despite the numerous court rulings against the PML-N, the party has won a string of recent by-elections proving it will likely remain a powerful force.