Election-2023, alliances, and alignment

Recently, the former President and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari ruled out the possibility of contesting the next General Election for an alliance with the ruling coalition. According to the PPP stalwart, the PPP would contest the next elections on the arrow symbol and will not run under the PDM banner because his party was not a part of the PDM bloc, rather it is a partner in the coalition government.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a multi-party ruling coalition initially agreed on joint work to overthrow the PTI regime that vehemently and repeatedly challenged their ego and public rating after gaining power in 2018. Realistically, the PTI’s politics of hate and name-calling brought the multiple political groups with diverging interests, conflicting ideologies, and sundry manifestos to a single-point agenda of regime change through the peaceful and democratic process, that was achieved by the alliance through a successful no-confidence motion nearly a year ago. The PDM leadership had been dragging the alliance and coalition government over the past year despite multiple political, administrative, and reputational challenges, yet some PDM confederating parties such as PML-N and JUI-F were in the favor of running the next general election through the PDM platform.

Unfortunately, the ruling PML-N-led PDM coalition government could not perform well and failed to deliver its single-point anti-inflation agenda after coming into power. During this time, the country has witnessed its worst economic turmoil, with the rupee at an all-time low, the foreign exchange reserves plunged almost every other week, and on top of it, a new wave of terrorism has also hit Pakistan. Although, the PDM coalition choose to keep its common adversary out of power, but the alliance particularly PML-N paid a heavy political price for the imprudent policies of its economic team that seriously hurt the masses and pushed the already dwindling economy to the brink of an imminent economic collapse.

As the election season began, PPP’s top stalwart announced his party election strategy and vowed to keep an independent political identity during the upcoming general election in the country. So far, the PTI-led anti-PDM alliance including PML-Q and a one-man squad of PML-Awami have set a unified course for the general elections in Punjab and KP and the group is determined to go the same way in the grand contest for the National Assembly whenever it gets scheduled. On the other hand, after a poor performance over the past 12 months and the no-existence of any popular narrative, the majority of the PDM member parties are likely to contest the upcoming General election in their capacity, however, seat adjustment and party-to-party cooperation among the likeminded groups are possible at any level in the days ahead.

The current highly volatile geopolitical trends and all-time high aggressive politics coupled with persistent audio and video leaks of the senior leadership of both groups had caused fears among the parties regarding their public approval. In fact, all political groups have public support and no party is ready to sacrify its political asset for the misdemeanors committed by others. Although the PPP Sindh government could not perform according to the expectations of its voters however the party has maintained its grip over rural areas while it delivered better in Karachi during the past year. Historically, PPP leadership has displayed political maturity and promoted the legacy of dialogue, accommodation, and political resilience in national affairs. Currently, our country is passing through a very critical phase that demands responsible politics, and transparent and merit-based political order to generate a positive political activity that ends hatred and fosters peace and tranquility in the country.