Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Will PDM field joint candidates for Senate Elections?

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The Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) leaders have started consultations for the upcoming Senate elections which is likely to be held in February this year. Sources said that PDM leaders are mulling over fielding joint candidates for the Senate polls. The opposition leaders have started consultations to field joint candidates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan assemblies.

Sources closer to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz said that the PDM parties will be convinced to field joint candidates besides appeasing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to support PML-N in Punjab.

A consultation session will be summoned soon to discuss the strategy to field joint candidates of the opposition parties, PML-N sources said. It is pertinent to mention here that the opposition alliance is currently possessing 22 seats in Balochistan Assembly and 41 lawmakers in KP Assembly.

Earlier in December last year, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will prepare a joint strategy for upcoming Senate elections.

He had made the remarks in a telephone conversation with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice-President Maryam Nawaz. Both of them had agreed to take all the PDM member parties into confidence over Senate polls.

Read more: PDM blames ISPR for a flop show in Lahore

On December 15, the federal government had decided to hold Senate elections in February rather than in March.

PTI to emerge as the winning party?

Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, opines that “if the Senate election takes place in March 2021 as scheduled, the PTI is likely to emerge as the largest party in the house, displacing the PML-N from that position”.

It is, however, important to note that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has announced to resign from the assemblies. PPP, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is one of the parties rallying against the government. Syed Murad Shah, Chief Minister Sindh, may advise the dissolution of the assembly shortly ahead of the Senate election in March 2021 which may keep an entire province out of the election.

Read more: PPP lambasts Nawaz for switching sides only to save himself

Mehboob writes that “in case this happens, it will be the first time that a province skips the Senate election cycle”. “Since there is no clear and explicit provision in the Constitution and the Elections Act regarding such a situation, the matter may end up in a court of law for resolution and interpretation of the Constitution,” he continued. “This may become necessary also because fresh election of the chair and deputy chair of the Senate has to take place immediately after the March 2021 election and the absence of half the representation of a province may significantly impact the outcome of these elections,” he concluded.

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