Pakistan's senate election seen as a bellwether for Shahbaz Sharif

Pakistan's senate election seen as a bellwether for Shahbaz Sharif

PML-N party officials say those candidates, running as "independents", are expected to pledge their allegiance to PML-N if they are elected to the Senate.

Polling in all four provincial assemblies and the parliament started at 9am and continued until 4 without a halt. A candidate in FATA having support of just three lawmakers can surely land in the upper house of Pakistan.

Pakistan's ruling party gained control of parliament's upper house in a secret ballot on Saturday (March 3), local media said, in a boost for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party ahead of a general election due in summer.

Senate has 104 members elected for six years, but half of them retire every three years at completion of term and new Senators are elected indirectly by provincial and national assemblies through proportional representation.

"Senate elections yet again witnessed shameful horse trading where MPAs bought and sold their votes as country witnessed this sale of their elected people to highest bidder".

Two seats are reserved for technocrats and five candidates are contesting for it. The last elections were held in 2015 and the next will be conducted in 2021.

The PML-N's interim President and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared his party's majority win in the Senate a "victory" for the public.

Pakistan held elections for its Senate to elect 52 members of the house for the next six years on Saturday amid strict measures to ensure transparency, the Election Commission said.

"PML-N now the single largest party in Senate as well", she said.

According to the ECP, 1,600 ballot papers for Punjab, 800 for Sindh, 600 for KP, 300 for Balochistan, 800 for Islamabad and 50 for Fata have been printed and handed over to the respective returning officers.

Members of the National Assembly will also elect senators for Islamabad and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

There were 65 independent candidates including 23 from the PML-N. The PTI has fielded Andaleeb Abbas for women seat from Punjab.

The official results will not immediately show how well PML-N has done because a number of candidates were barred from running under the party's banner after Sharif was removed from office.

The victorious candidates are Moula Bux Chandio, Raza Rabbani, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Anwar Lal Deen.

From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, former chief minister Pir Sabir Shah, Ali Afzal Khan Jadoon (backed by the PML-N), Faisal Sakhi Butt (PPP) Talha Mehmood (JUI-F), Maulana Samiul Haq, Azam Swati, Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, Rubina Khalid and Naeema Kishwar are amongst the prominent candidates.

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