Ex-cricket star Imran Khan appears headed to election victory in Pakistan

Preliminary voting results in Pakistan showed the party of former cricket star Imran Khan was poised late Wednesday to come into power for the first time, upending the political landscape in the fragile democracy.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was performing far better than predicted by pre-election polls, which showed the party marginally in front of the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

A victory for Khan’s party would break Pakistan’s two-party system and become a new force in national politics. He has promised to clean up corruption and provide better education, health and other public services.

Khan’s party, if the early results hold, may still need to forge a coalition with one or more other parties to control the country’s Parliament before Khan can be nominated as prime minister. Forty-two percent of results have been counted. Full results are expected on Thursday, though counting was delayed by technical failures in an electronic reporting system and the tallying was now being conducted manually, Reuters reported, citing the Election Commission secretary.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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