Imran Khan, a former Pakistani prime minister, restated his call for early elections on Monday after his party won control of Punjab, the country’s most populous province. There were 20 seats up for grabs in the by-election for Punjab. It was seen as a test of the former international cricket star’s popularity after he was fired in April following a vote of no confidence. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party received 15 votes from the electorate; Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) received 4, and one vote was cast for an independent. Even though Khan has been actively campaigning for an earlier election across the nation since being ousted, Sunday’s vote was seen as a proxy for the national elections that must be held by October of next year. “The only way forward from here is to hold free and transparent elections,” Khan tweeted early Monday after the Punjab votes were tallied. “Any other way will only lead to increased political uncertainty and further economic chaos.” Since being ousted, Khan has attracted large crowds to rallies, delivering rambling speeches in which he claims the Pakistani government was imposed there by a US-led conspiracy. Although most analysts agree Sharif inherited the nation’s economic problems, which were somewhat alleviated last week by an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume a rescue package, he also attributes the current government’s high inflation. Punjab’s outcome was a result of the nation’s current economic difficulties, which include spending nearly half of its income to pay off crushing foreign debt. Sharif had to end fuel subsidies in order to satisfy IMF requirements for the continuation of a $7.2 billion aid package, which effectively increased fuel prices by more than 50% in less than two months. The election commission disqualified 20 PTI members for switching parties, prompting the call for the Punjab assembly vote. As a result, Hamza Sharif, the son of the prime minister, is likely to end his brief tenure as chief minister of Punjab.