Polling underway for 30 vacant Senate seats

 Polling underway for 30 vacant Senate seats

Polling for 30 vacant Senate seats is currently underway in the National and provincial assemblies on Tuesday, with 59 candidates vying for the spots.

About 18 senators were elected unopposed, including 11 candidates from Balochistan. The senators will serve a term of six years.

Polling began at 9 am and will conclude at 4 pm.

Anticipation is high as parties within the ruling coalition, notably the PML-N and PPP, eye a potential bolstering of their ranks towards a formidable two-thirds majority in the upper echelons of parliament.

On the flip side, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is expected to maintain its dominance as the foremost party in the new legislative body. However, its clout might falter in thwarting the governmental legislative agenda.

To ensure a seamless electoral process, several measures have been deployed by the ECP, including the printing of ballot papers in different colors – white for general seats, green for technocrats, pink for women, and yellow for minority representation.

Moreover, logistical groundwork has been laid out, with the transportation of election materials to returning officers completed.

These officers have issued the final roster of candidates vying for the 48 vacant Senate seats, encompassing 29 general, eight women, nine technocrats/Ulema, and two non-Muslim slots.

A potential snag looms large in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the Senate elections for 11 seats could face a delay should the K-P Assembly speaker balk at administering the oath to women and minority lawmakers-elect from the PML-N on reserved seats, as cautioned by the electoral watchdog.

The stakes are high as these elections aim to fill the void left by half of the incumbent senators who bid adieu upon the expiration of their six-year terms on March 12. Out of the 52 retiring senators, elections are slated for 48 seats, with four positions abolished following the integration of former federally administered tribal areas (FATA) into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

With the Senate’s total seat count dwindling from 100 to 96, the ECP has issued a comprehensive code of conduct, urging parties and candidates to uphold electoral integrity and refrain from engaging in corrupt or illegal activities.

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