Islamabad:Total 52 incumbent members of the Senate will complete their six-year term and retire on March 11.
The Supreme Court (SC), in its opinion on the presidential reference on open Senate vote has said that Senate elections will be held through secret ballot.
How Elections Are Held in Senate Polls
The electoral process is such that all members of the National Assembly will be given two ballot papers— one for the general seat and other for the women’s seat. In Punjab and Sindh, members of the Provincial Assembly will be granted three ballot papers, for the election of general, women and technocrat seats. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan however, members of Provincial Assembly members will be given four ballot papers, where the additional ballot will correspond to a minority seat.
The said ballot papers will enlist candidate names in both, English and Urdu. While a blank box adjacent to candidate name on the ballot, is where members of assembly will mark the prefix number for their desired candidate. For instance, if 10 candidates are contesting from Sindh for seven general seats in the senate, then all the members of the Sindh Assembly will be given a ballot paper mentioning names of all 10 candidates without election symbol.
After merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the neighbouring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, elections were to be held for 48 senate seats this time. However, following uncontested victory of candidates in 11 seats in Punjab, the March 3 elections will now be held for 37 seats instead. The 2021 Senate Elections will thus elect 11 senators from Sindh, 12 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan each, and two from Islamabad to join the Upper House.
It is also worth knowing that the provincial assemblies also serve as the Electoral College for the senate elections, considering senators from the provincial quota are elected by the votes of their respective provincial assembly members. Senators from Islamabad however, are elected by members of the entire National Assembly.
There are a total of 168 members in the Sindh Assembly. Elections this year are being contested over seven vacant general seats of the senate from Sindh. There are two seats for women technocrats and two seats for which elections are going to be held in the respective provinces. Dividing these seats into 168 seats can therefore determine the golden figure for each seat, in other words, the required number of votes.
For instance: For general senate seats, 24 votes will have to be obtained from the Sindh Assembly. If the two women’s seats in Sindh are divided into a total of 168 members, then the required number of votes; the golden figure; comes down to 84.
Similarly, to secure a womens’ seat from Punjab, a candidate has to get 84 votes. Under the same formula, 21 votes will be required from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for general seats, while technocrats’ and women’s seats will require 73 votes. Likewise, a candidate from the Balochistan Assembly will have to secure nine votes to win, while for the seats of women and technocrats, he will have to get the required 33 votes.
Whereas, the entire National Assembly will vote in the two-seat Senate elections in Islamabad. The candidate who gets the majority of votes i.e. 172 votes will thus be considered successful for the elections to the general and women’s seats in Islamabad.