The day after dawns

With assemblies in place, a new President can be elected

As the provincial assemblies are sworn in, with the National Assembly due to be, the Election Commission is preparing for two important elections. First, on March 9, there will be the presidential election. The only reason this did not take place in September, when the present incumbent’s term expired, was that the assemblies were dissolved and thus the electoral college for the President did not exist. The elections seem to have been held just in time, for the presidential election will be the last act of half the Senate. As soon as the presidential election is held, the provincial assemblies will elect successors to the outgoing Senators. It is therefore with more than usual interest that the first meetings of the provincial assemblies are being seen, for not only will they produce governments for their respective provinces, but they will also act as electoral colleges for the Presidency and the Senate.

The meetings of the Punjab and Sindh Assemblies have produced no surprises, as they met for the taking of oath and election of the Speakers and Deputy Speaker. The only point of interest was that the PTI, or rather the Sunni Ittehad Council, changed its nominee for Chief Minister, Because original nominee Malik Aslam Iqbal is wanted by the police in May 9 cases, he failed to turn up to take oath as MPA. Thus he was ineligible to contest the CM’s election. Therefore, the SIC will put forward Rana Aftab Ahmad, a veteran member and an ex-minister. However, if the Speaker’s election is anything to go by, Rana Aftab does not really stand a chance. The new speaker, Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, was elected 224 to 96, with two votes rejected; while the new Deputy Speaker, Zaheer Iqbal Channar, got 220 votes to 103 against.

Similarly, the Sindh Assembly elected Owais Qadir Shah as its new Speaker by 111 votes to 36, indicating that the PPP will get its Chief Minister elected. Unlike the neophyte Maryam Nawaz in Punjab, its candidate in Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, will enter on his third term. The KP Assembly is expected to choose SIC nominee Ali Amin Gandapur as CM, and the National Assembly PML(N) nominee Mian Shehbaz Sharif. The PPP is likely to make a nomination for the CM Balochistan, which will then complete the series of chief executiveships.

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The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].

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