Nawaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan's new prime minister by the National Assembly yesterday, but only after ousted Premier Benazir Bhutto led a brief walkout by the opposition. Mr. Sharif, leader of the Islamic Democratic Alliance, won 153 votes in the 217-seat assembly compared to 39 for Ms. Bhutto's candidate, Mohammad Afzal Khan. He is due to be sworn in later by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
Bhutto, who was ousted from power in August, led her Pakistan People's Party members from the house after the speaker refused their demands for a secret ballot. They were persuaded to return, despite anger at what they saw as unfair treatment by Speaker Gohar Ayub Khan.
Sharif's overwhelming majority, with the support of several regional groups, gives him more than the two-thirds of the house necessary to make constitutional changes.