ECP: After the process of general election is almost complete, there are moves for installation of governments in the Centre and provinces while the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is planning to conduct the presidential election on March 9, a day ahead of the start of the fasting month.

“There is a concrete proposal for the election of president on March 9. Once approved, it will follow issuance of the schedule for the electoral process, involving the parliament and provincial legislatures,” a senior official of the ECP confirmed to The News.

The next month’s presidential election will witness the 14th head of the state making his way to the President House. The incumbent president, Dr Arif Alvi, completed his five-year term on Sept 8 last year, but continues to hold the office in the absence of the legislatures, barring the Senate of Pakistan.

The Article 41 of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan says:

“1. There shall be a President of Pakistan who shall be the Head of State and shall represent the unity of the Republic.

“2. A person shall not be qualified for election as President unless he is a Muslim of not less than forty-five years of age and is qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly.

“3. The President shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of the Second Schedule by the members of an electoral college consisting of:

a. The members of both Houses; and

b. The members of the Provincial Assemblies.

“4. Election to the office of President shall be held not earlier than sixty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of the President in office: Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the period aforesaid because the National Assembly is dissolved, it shall be held within thirty days of the general election to the Assembly.

“5. An election to fill a vacancy in the office of President shall be held not later than thirty days from the occurrence of the vacancy: Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the period aforesaid because the National Assembly is dissolved, it shall be held within thirty days of the general election to the Assembly.”

According to the power-sharing deal struck between the PMLN and PPP, Shehbaz Sharif will run for the prime ministerial slot, while ex-president Asif Ali Zardari will contest to become the head of the state again.

It is widely believed that given their numerical strength in the legislatures and of their allies, both appear set to make it to the coveted posts.

Meanwhile, President Arif Alvi is prepared to contest for the presidential office, yet another time, provided his party designates him as the candidate for it. He is the third president in the country’s history who has completed his constitutional tenure.

Asif Ali Zardari was the first elected president who had the distinction of completing his tenure in the office followed by Mamnoon Hussain. Asif Zardari is all set to clinch the distinguished slot once more.

Sources said that Arif Alvi has made preparations to vacate the Presidency and he would be entitled to all the privileges and perks as the former head of state upon retirement.

Interestingly, 47 members of the Senate, who will be no more member of the house two days after the presidential polls as they are completing their six years on March 11, will also cast their votes in the presidential poll.

The election of 53 members of the Senate on the same day would be the last of parliamentary elections that will complete the electoral process in the country as the new president will also assume his office in the same week, sources maintained.


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2024-02-25

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