PML-N set to sweep Senate polls from Punjab

PML-N set to sweep Senate polls from Punjab

Ishaq Dar’s papers rejected
Muhammad Saleem
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Monday received a setback, as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected Ishaq Dar’s nomination papers for the Senate elections scheduled to be held on March 3.
Dar, a former finance minister and sitting senator, had applied on a technocrat seat from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The returning officer rejected his nomination papers during scrutiny on Monday rejected his papers as the counsel for a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate objected that Ishaq Dar had not submitted an authentic declaration of his assets.
The returning officer ruled that Ishaq Dar, thus, is not ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’ as per the Constitution.
Despite this, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is all set to sweep the Senate elections in Punjab, using its majority in the house and eyeing the cracks in the opposition ranks.
In Punjab Assembly, the PML-N alliance enjoys an overwhelming majority of 316 in the house of 371 members. The opposition is divided with 30 members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), eight each of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) and one seat of Jamaat-e-Islami.
As per the Senate election formula, each candidate would need to secure 46.3 votes to win in Punjab. With its current strength, the PML-N would win 6.7 without any qualms, while the seventh seat could go to the opposition, only in the event of all opposition parties agreeing on a joint candidate.
In the Senate elections on general seats, each member has the right to cast his/her vote in two classes.
They each get to cast a ‘First priority’ vote, which if adds to the required number (in this case 46.3) automatically elects a senator. In addition to this vote, they each get to cast a ‘Second priority’ vote. In that case, all general seats could not be filled by seven candidates, securing the 46.3 magic number; the ‘Second priority’ vote comes into play to define the victory by majority ‘Second priority’ vote.
According to sources, the PML-N, therefore, has a number of strategies they could opt for.
The PML-N could set a benchmark voting number, less than the required for a couple of seats and make it up through sweeping number of 2nd Priority Votes, while banking on the apparent unlikelihood of an opposition joint candidate.
However, that strategy could backfire and prove to be risky as it spelled disaster for Aslam Gill in March 2012 Senate elections, when he lost to Mohsin Leghari, who proved to be a dark horse and got elected through overwhelming 2nd Priority vote.
The post PML-N set to sweep Senate polls from Punjab appeared first on PakObserver.


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