Pakistan presidential election tomorrow; PTI candidate likely to win
Pakistani lawmakers are set to choose a new President tomorrow, an election in which the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's candidate is expected to win as the Opposition parties failed to field a joint candidate. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) today completed preparations for the election. Polling stations have been set up in all four provincial Assemblies in addition to the National Assembly. Here's more.
Who all are in the race?
Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan Sardar Raza Khan will serve as the Returning Officer. Outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain's tenure ends on September 8. He had declined for re-election to a second five-year term. Three candidates - ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's Arif Alvi, the Pakistan Peoples Party's Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, and Jamiat-e-Ulema (F) chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman - are in the race.
The joint opposition could not field a single candidate
Alvi is a Karachi-based dentist-turned-politician, who reportedly stood by the newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan during his political career. The joint Opposition was to field a single candidate to give tough time to Alvi but has failed to do so. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) last month nominated renowned lawyer and veteran politician Ahsan as a candidate.
PML-N, MMA was opposed to nomination of Ahsan
Other opposition parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) opposed the nomination of Ahsan. As the differences persisted, they nominated Rehman.
Argument witnessed in the opposition meet yesterday
The Opposition parties excluding the PPP met in Lahore yesterday to discuss the presidential elections. Rehman sought the support of PML-N to convince PPP to withdraw its nominee. He asked the PPP to withdraw its candidate and avoid damaging the joint Opposition. PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the division in the ranks of the Opposition will only benefit the ruling party.
Strong chances of Alvi winning the presidential elections
Kaira also hinted that the PPP could meet Nawaz Sharif to get his party's support for Ahsan. The PML-N has opposed the candidature of Ahsan as he had used harsh language against Sharif. Since the PTI controls the National Assembly and has majority in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, besides having support of the ruling Party in Balochistan, its candidate Alvi is in a strong position.
A joint opposition candidate, however, can be a gamechanger
The Opposition parties, however, are in majority in Senate. A joint opposition candidate can change the whole game if he gets the support of some PTI back-benchers or disgruntled lawmakers. At least two PTI lawmakers have recently criticized its leadership for neglecting them.