Though the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) presidential nominee is expected to land an easy victory on July 30, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate is set to win the electoral college in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
The K-P Assembly’s total strength is 124 seats; presently it stands at 120 as four seats remain vacant before the by-elections on August 22. Since the Balochistan Assembly is the smallest with 65, its strength is used as a benchmark. The total numbers of seats in each assembly are divided by 65 to determine each assembly’s electoral college.
Technically, when voting for the presidential nominees, 1.9 K-P assembly seats will have the power of one vote. But as the current strength of the provincial legislature is 120, the seat-to-vote ratio will drop to 1.84.
The ruling party has the largest number of seats, occupied by 54 lawmakers.
With the coalition partners, PTI and its allies have 77 seats to play with – Qaumi Watan Party, 10, Jamaat-e-Islami eight and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad five.
The lone All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) MPA, Ghaulm Mohammad, and independent candidate from Dera Ismail Khan, Javed Akbar Khan, are also likely to support PTI candidate Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed. They set the precedent in the election for K-P chief minister.
Altogether, PTI and its allies commandeer 79 seats. Under the above mentioned formula, this gives Justice (retd) Ahmed at least 42 presidential electoral college votes.
The two opposition parties in the K-P Assembly – PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) – have 17 and 16 lawmakers respectively. The latter is throwing its support behind PML-N nominee Mamnoon Hussain. Combined, the two parties have 33 MPAs; a total of 17.93 votes for Hussain from the K-P benches.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which was being supported by the Awami National Party (ANP), is boycotting presidential polls. The PPP and ANP have four members each in the assembly. In case the PPP fielded a candidate, he would receive 4.34 votes. Senior ANP leader and former K-P information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed his party will also not participate in the elections as the ANP was backing PPP candidate Raza Rabbani till the PPP decided to boycott.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.
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