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Ishaq Dar, PPP’s Rana Mehmoodul Hassan win senate elections from NA

Islamabad: Elections on 19 vacant Senate seats in the National Assembly (NA) and provincial legislatures of Punjab and Sindh have concluded and counting of votes is currently underway, with results trickling in.

Polls were postponed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the electoral watchdog over the dispute in swearing-in opposition members elected to reserved seats.

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar won on a technocrat seat from Islamabad, garnering 222 votes with Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) Raja Ansar Mehmood coming in second with 81.

Meanwhile, PPP’s Rana Mehmoodul Hassan secured 224 votes to win the general seat in Islamabad while PTI’s Farzand Hussain Shah garnered 79 votes.

Polling in the NA 9 am and concluded at 4 pm. Polling was held in the NA for the election of two senators.

Ballot papers in four different colours were printed — white papers will be used for general seats, green for technocrat seats, pink for women, and yellow for minority seats.

The Senate became dysfunctional on March 11 following the retirement of 52 lawmakers. The elections are likely to see parties in the ruling coalition — the PML-N and PPP — move closer to a two-thirds majority in the upper house of parliament.

The opposition PTI will likely maintain its position as the single largest party in the new house, but it will be in no position to hamper the government’s legislative business.

Senate composition

The Senate consists of 96 lawmakers. However, only 48 seats were up for grabs this year — 12 each from Punjab and Sindh, 11 each from KP and Balochistan and two from Islamabad — as half of the senators are elected at one time, and the other half three years later.

Each senator serves a term of six years, barring resignation, disqualification or other extraordinary circumstances.

The Senate comprises 23 members each from the four federating units and four from Islamabad. The 23 seats allocated to a province comprise 14 general seats, four reserved for women, four for technocrats and one for minority members.

The ECP said that in all, 147 candidates had filed nomination papers for 48 Senate seats, of whom 18 had been elected unopposed. They include seven each against general seats from Punjab and Balochistan and two each against reserved seats for women and technocrats from Balochistan.