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The defeat of populism.

A too early assertion of the incumbency factor Unrealistic promises made before the elections would haunt the PTI throughout its tenure. When the voters find the government moving into an altogether different direction from the one promised, nemesis does not take long to follow.

Normally it takes months and years for the voters to start losing confidence in the party they had voted into power. In the case of the PTI the downturn in popularity graph has started in less than sixty days.

That voter turnout in the by-elections was lower than during the July 25 2018 polls is by no means unusual. The PTI however experienced a much larger decline in its votes than its rivals leading to its fall in key constituencies.

This indicates a fast decreasing enthusiasm on the part of the PTI supporters. The PML-N was in the lead by securing four out of 11 NA seats as PTI trailed behind with three seats, PML-Q managed to win two and the MMA one.

That Kh Saad Rafique won from Lahore with thumping majority while facing highly publicised corruption cases should make the PTI realise that hurling corruption charges may not discredit a political leader. Any attempt at overkill could however turn the accused into political martyrs.

The by-election results have revived hope and self-confidence in the PML-N leadership. After being bailed out in the Avenfield case, the results are the first good news for Nawaz Sharif and his party.

The Sharif family however still faces cases with unpredictable outcome. With the PTI-led alliance comfortably in power, the PML-N has an uphill journey ahead.

The narrative of shifting the responsibility for the problems faced by the country onto the previous administrations has never helped a government in power. The voters expect those they have elected to resolve the issues.

The PTI needs to explain to the Parliament why it is necessary to take difficult economic decisions in days to come. It should even take the opposition on board while deciding the future course of action.

Will the PTI leadership be able to overcome their inflated egos?

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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Oct 15, 2018
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