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The six-party alliance announces Zardari for Pakistan's highest constitutional post


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is preparing to hold the presidential election on March 9, two days before half of the senators retire after serving six years.

A senior PPP official stated that the current senators will elect the president once all four provincial assemblies are established. The election is expected to occur on March 9 or 10

The six-party alliance plans to establish a coalition government led by PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif. They have designated Asif Ali Zardari as their preferred candidate for the country's highest constitutional position.


Mr Zardari was president from September 2008 to 2013 following the resignation of military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Article 41(4) of the Constitution states that the president's office election must occur thirty and sixty days before the current president's term ends. If the election cannot be held during this time due to the National Assembly being dissolved, it must take place within thirty days of the general election for the Assembly. 

The presidential election must be held by March 9, following the general elections on February 8, and just before half of the 100-member Senate retires.

The Senate elections, originally scheduled for the first week of March, have been postponed due to the delay in the general elections of the National and provincial assemblies. The Senate elections are now expected to occur in either the last week of March or the first week of April, resulting in a temporary period of dysfunction and incompleteness in the upper house.

A PPP leader stated that the party had prevented its two senators, Nisar Khuhro and Jam Mahtab Dahar, from being sworn in as MPAs in the Sindh Assembly due to the upcoming presidential election and to secure Mr Zardari's victory. 

Under the election formula for the president, a senator's vote carries the same weight as one vote. In contrast, in the Sindh Assembly, one vote equals approximately four votes. Mr Zardari will gain an advantage in the presidential elections through this method.

President Dr Arif Alvi is currently serving an extended term after finishing his initial five-year term on September 9 of the previous year.

According to Article 44(1) of the Constitution, the president serves a five-year term starting from the day they take office but remains in office until a successor is selected. 

Dr. Alvi is the country's fourth president to serve a full five-year term through democratic elections. Three presidents who served full terms before Dr. Alvi were Chaudhary Fazal Elahi (fifth president, 1973-1978), Asif Ali Zardari (11th, 2008-2013), and Mamnoon Hussain (12th, 2013-2018).

Dr Alvi is the third consecutive president to serve a full term and the first to have an extended term because of an incomplete electoral college consisting of the National Assembly, Senate, and the four provincial assemblies. 

Analysis of the data on senators indicates that the PML-N and the PPP are expected to lose a significant portion of their members — 69% and 57%, respectively — as they retire on March 11 upon finishing their terms.

Following the February 8 elections, the PML-N and PPP are expected to increase their seats in the Senate. Suppose the PTI does not hold its intra-party elections before the Senate polls. In that case, it will be at a clear disadvantage. It may need to rely on the SIC to secure representation in the upper house of parliament. 

So far, the Senate's total strength has been 100, with 23 members from the four federating units and four members from the former Fata and Islamabad. 

Within a province, are 23 seats distributed as follows: 14 general seats, four reserved for women, four for technocrats, and one for a minority member. 

Only 96 members will be in the chamber because the tribal areas have merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ending their separate representation. 

The upcoming Senate elections will result in the election of 48 new senators. It includes 11 senators from each of the four provinces for general and technocrats' seats, two senators from Islamabad, and two minority members from Punjab and Sindh.

Currently, the house has 97 members following the passing of PML-N's Rana Maqbool Ahmed and the resignations of PTI's Shaukat Tarin and Anwaarul Haq Kakar of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) upon becoming the caretaker prime minister.

Senators serve a six-year term, with half retiring every three years, leading to elections for new members.

On Saturday, the ECP issued a notification for two additional candidates from KP for the reserved seats for women in the National Assembly. As per the notification, the ECP has announced Shaista Khan of the PML-N and Shahida Akhtar Ali of the JUI-F as the elected candidates from KP for the reserved seats in the National Assembly.

The ECP has suspended the notifications for eight reserved seats for women in the National Assembly from KP and 21 out of 26 reserved seats for women in the KP Assembly. This action is due to the issue of PTI-backed candidates aligning with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), pending before the commission.

The ECP has categorized all PTI-backed independent candidates as members of the SIC when allocating women's seats in the national and KP assemblies. The column indicating the number of seats allocated to them states: "Matter is pending before the commission." 

The ECP has issued notifications for 40 of the 60 reserved seats for women in the National Assembly and seven of the ten reserved seats for non-Muslims.

The Election Commission has announced the winners for 20 of the 32 National Assembly seats designated for women in Punjab, all 14 in Sindh, and all four in Balochistan.

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