As many as 1,123 members of the Senate, National and provincial assemblies will be eligible to cast their votes in the upcoming presidential election, according to the electoral list issued by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday.
According to the electoral body, 103 Senators, 324 MNAs, 352 MPAs of Punjab Assembly, 163 MPAs of Sindh Assembly, 120 MPAs of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and 61 MPAs of Balochistan Assembly will be eligible to vote in the presidential poll.
Party positions reveal that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is likely to secure the presidential slot without stiff competition, since it heavily outnumbers opposition parties in both the National and Punjab assemblies.
Meanwhile, some political parties have raised objections on the revised schedule issued by the Election Commission, saying that the change in poll date has deprived them of their right to run an effective election campaign.
However, dispelling objections, the commission has said that the revised schedule was issued in compliance with the Supreme Court’s order and political parties may approach the apex court for a review.
In related development, the acting president has summoned the session of National Assembly on July 29, a day before the ‘polling session’ of the parliament to elect a new president. This session of the assembly will move a motion for converting the regular assembly session into a polling session for the formation of Electoral College to elect President Zardari’s successor. The first assembly session will be prorogued after approving the motion for polling session.
Meanwhile, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has already summoned the session of the National Assembly on July 30 for the election of President of Pakistan under article 9 clause (b) of Presidential Elections Rules 1988.
According to the Second Schedule of Constitution and Presidential Election Rules 1988, the parliament – comprising the National Assembly and Senate – and the four provincial assemblies (PAs) form the Electoral College for the presidential election.
The 446 members of parliament have one vote each while Balochistan Assembly’s total strength of 65 is considered as a baseline for the other three PAs.
Under this formula, the number of votes cast in a PA in favour of each candidate would be multiplied by 65 and divided by the total number of seats in the PA in which the votes were cast.
ECP instructions for poll
As per the instructions of the poll supervisory body, parliamentarians will mark their choice with an X next to the names of candidates on the ballot.
Eligible members will have to display a Senate or National Assembly identity card in order to cast their vote. The special instructions also include keeping the vote confidential during the process.
Meanwhile, the ECP has also written a letter to all high court registrars to remind them about the schedule of the poll and their role in the scrutiny of nomination papers.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2013.
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