Pakistani Senate elects ruling alliance candidate for president | Election News
Sadiq Sanjrani, the outgoing president whose candidacy was backed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, received 48 votes, with opposition Yusuf Raza Gilani getting 42 votes in Friday’s election.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s Senate elected ruling alliance candidate Sadiq Sanjrani as president of the upper house of parliament after a turbulent election which saw the opposition accuse the government of installing “spy cameras »Above the voting booth.
Sanjrani, the outgoing president whose candidacy was backed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, received 48 votes, with opposition Yusuf Raza Gilani getting 42 votes in Friday’s election.
“Mr. Sadiq Sanjrani received 48 votes, Mr. Yusuf Raza Gilani 42 votes, ”President of Elections Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah announced, to cheers and widespread celebrations from the Treasury benches.
The opposition protested the result after Shah earlier announced he was rejecting seven ballots in favor of Gilani for having the voting stamp affixed to the candidate’s name rather than the designated box.
“Instead of the box, the stamp was actually put on the name of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, and they are being rejected,” Shah said.
Pakistani People’s Party Senator Farooq Naek challenged the president’s verdict. The opposition can appeal to an independent electoral tribunal.
The result further strengthens the grip of Prime Minister Khan’s ruling alliance over the Senate, where he is the largest party, although the opposition alliance is above the Treasury banks in absolute numbers.
Sanjrani is a member of the Baluchistan Awami Party (BAP), a member of the ruling alliance, and is from the southwestern province of Balochistan.
Earlier today, opposition Senators Mustafa Nawaz Khokher and Mussadik Malik claimed to have found six “spy cameras” around the voting booth in the upper house of parliament.
The two Senators shared footage of what appeared to be at least two hidden cameras and one visible camera that were directed towards the area where Senators were required to fill out their ballots.
A bipartisan Senate committee was formed to investigate the allegations.
Elections to the Senate and its officers are held by secret ballot in accordance with the country’s constitution. Last week, the Supreme Court rejected a government decision to require the vote to take place by public ballot.
The allegations came after three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif released a video statement a day earlier, targeting the country’s powerful military, warning it not to interfere in the elections.
The Pakistani military has ruled the country directly for about half of its 74-year history and has played an increasingly active role in governance under Khan’s government.
Friday’s election comes after 48 new senators were elected to the upper house of parliament in a hotly contested ballot in the country’s national and provincial assemblies.
Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lost a key seat in this election, but lived up to expectations by emerging as the largest single party in the house.
After Friday’s election, the PTI reiterated its commitment to implement electoral reforms that would reduce the risks of electoral fraud.
“Pakistan will move towards electronic voting, and those who lose will have to accept their defeat,” said PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan.
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim