ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is expected to secure major chunk of Senate seats in the upcoming election for the Upper House of the Parliament falling in March this year.
As the Election Commission has already issued the schedule for Senate elections and the list of retiring Senators, efforts are on for tickets seeking and managing party ranks by different political parties to secure maximum seats in the Senate.
According to ECP details elections on 11 seats from each province with seven general seats and two each reserved for ulema/technocrats and women respectively, two from federal capital – one each general and a seat reserved for women, four seats from FATA and two seats reserved for minorities, will be held on March 03, 2015.
On the day election will be held at 52 Senate seats – 50 percent of total seats after the retirement of the Senators who are going to complete their six year tenure except two minority Senators one each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These two Senators Heman Das (JUI-F) from Balochistan and Amr Jeet (ANP) from KPK were elected to Senate after the Parliament during PPPP government had enhanced the Senate seats to 104 from 100 allocating four seats to minorities with one from each province.
Therefore, four minority Senators were elected to the House among whom two are retiring through balloting after three years while other two will complete their six year tenure.
Since, the provincial assemblies form the main constituency for the Senate elections, the party position in provinces is some what clear that PML-N will be bagging maximum seats in elections on 52 Senate seats.
According to Election Commission of Pakistan, the candidates who will enjoy priority of majority shall be elected to senate.
In present scenario when total number of MPAs in each provincial assembly is divided to seats for elections, it shows 53 MPAs in Punjab, 24 in Sindh, 18 in KPK and around nine in Balochistan will be equal to one Senate seat.
Details show that in Punjab PML-N has 312 MPAs, in Sindh 06, in KPK 14 and in Balochistan the number of their MPAs is 19.
The party also enjoys majority in National Assembly which is constituency for four Senate seats of which election will be held on two seats. Now going by the ECP formula, the Senate candidates who will enjoy support and priority of maximum members from each province shall be elected to Senate. Under, this formula PML-N is expected to secure all Senate seats from Punjab province. However, there may be a contest between the last priority holder of PML-N candidate and first priority holder of the PTI candidate as the latter has 29 seats in Punjab Assembly.
Similarly, PML-N is also expected to bag major share from Balochistan where the party has 19 seats in the House of 65 followed by PKMAP with 14 seats,National party 10 seats and JUI-F eight seats.
In Balochistan, every Senate candidate enjoying priority of almost nine and half MPAs will be safe to proceed to Upper House.
In this scenario, the party is again expected to win majority seats from Balochistan while in KPK the party is also expected to win couple of seats after adjustment with opposition parties as in this province any candidate enjoying priority of 18 MPAs may secure the Senate seat.
In KPK will be the same situation for PML-N as it will be for PTI in Punjab as the PML-N Senate candidate enjoying last priority in Punjab and PTI candidate enjoying last priority in KPK will be under challenge from the rivals. PPPP will be losing some seats in the Senate elections after losing majority in Punjab, KPK and Balochistan while MQM is expected to secure more or less the same number of Senate seats.
National Party and PKMAP may enhance their number in the Senate after enjoying more number of MPAs in Balochistan assembly while PTI will be new entrant to Senate if they contest elections as the party has 46 MPAs KPK assembly where according to ECP formula 24 MPAs form a constituency from each Senate candidate.
Awami National Party and PPPP may be the major losers in the Senate elections after losing provincial assembly seats in Punjab, Balochistan and KPK.This gap will expectedly be filled by PML-N, PTI, PKMAP and National Party.