Senate elections to take place on March 3: ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday issued schedule for the Senate elections, setting March 3 as the date of polling. The schedule would be formally notified on February 2.

The public notice informing the candidates about acquiring and submission of applications would be issued on February 3, according to an ECP statement.

Nomination papers are to be acquired from the offices of returning officers concerned (during office timings) from February 4 to February 6.

Scrutiny of the nomination papers would be done by February 9. The list of contesting candidates would be issued on February 15 while nomination papers can be withdrawn till February 16. Polling for electing senators would be held on March 3.

The ECP had approved the Senate elections schedule last week, but did not announce the polling date.

In the light of related electoral provisions, the Senate elections are held every three years when half of the senators complete their six-year term out of 104-member Senate.

As many as 52 senators, including Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani and Opposition Leader in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan would complete their term on March 11.

Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq were elected to the Senate in March 2015 and would therefore retire in March 2021.

Of the 52 retiring senators, 18 senators belong to the Pakistan People’s Party, nine to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, five are independent and as many are from the Awami National Party, four each from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, three from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl, two from the Balochistan National Party-Awami, and one each from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional.

The retiring lot includes 33 senators on general seats (seven senators from each province, four from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and one from the federal capital), nine technocrat seats (two from each province and one from the Federal Capital), eight senators on women seats (two from each province) and two senators on non-Muslim seats (one each from Punjab and Sindh).

As political parties gear up for Senate elections, manoeuvring to grab the lion’s share in the upper house is in full swing. Reportedly, PPP’s attempts to secure majority in the upcoming polls have drawn the ire of both PML-N and PTI. The PPP leadership is quietly reaching out to members provincial assembly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to secure support in the Senate polls which has not gone down well with the PML-N and PPP leaderships that have waged counter moves in Sindh to woo the loyalties of provincial lawmakers in PPP stronghold, according to sources in PML-N.

Lately, reports have also surfaced that PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari wants to get his sister Faryal Talpur elevated as Senate chairperson in the upcoming polls and intense lobbying is on in this regard.

Last month, the PML-N and the PPP were said to have reached an underhand deal, according to which, the PPP supported in Senate the legislation on constituencies’ delimitation and in return received ‘concrete’ assurances from PML-N to secure a few seats in the Senate elections from Punjab’s quota and some seats in general elections from south Punjab.

It is also believed that the PPP wanted PML-N to agree on Faryal Talpur’s elevation as chairperson of the Senate. But, Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N chief, did not agree to it after which the PPP reportedly lobbied to send the PML-N government in the Balochistan Assembly packing in order to bring a favourable government setup in the province to win seats in the Senate polls from Balochistan’s quota, according to sources.

List of candidates will be released on February 15

Original news :