ISLAMABAD: Anticipating that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government will fail to muster enough support for its proposed changes to the procedure for Senate elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday issued a final list of 131 candidates for Upper House polls.
Among the 131 candidates in final contest, with two candidates each from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on technocrat and women seats were elected unopposed from Sindh Assembly. PPP candidate Farooq H Naik and Sassui Palijo while MQM’s Barrister Ali Khan Saif and Nighat Mirza were elected on the two reserved seats for technocrats and women.
Hence, the ECP will be sending names of the remaining candidates to the Printing Corporation of Pakistan for printing of over 3,000 ballot papers for voting under existing single transferable vote system.
In the 104 member Upper House, half of the members will be retiring in mid-March after completing their six year term. They will be replaced by 52 new members, with some of the retiring ones making their way again. And as four senators were elected unopposed on Saturday, 48 seats will be up for grabs in polls scheduled for March 5.
Senate polls to feature secret ballots
A bid to change the way the Senate elections are held has apparently failed.
The move sponsored by ruling PML-N and its arch rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to institute an open voting system as opposed to the secret ballot system, fell through after it failed to woo support from PPP and JUI-F to secure two thirds majority vote in both Houses of parliament to force a constitutional amendment.
The two parties and few other smaller parties had opposed the idea in huddle organised by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday.
The government accosted these parties once again in an aborted attempt but has vowed to continue its efforts to cajole these parties.
This failure will put up a daunting challenge for PML-N and PTI to maintain discipline among their MPs and ensure that they vote for party ticket holder candidates in the provinces.
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