Voting begins in Pakistan to elect new President

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 10:23:45 by

Members of national parliament and provincial assemblies in Pakistan began voting on Tuesday to elect the successor of President Asif Ali Zardari being boycotted by the main opposition party, officials said. 

Polling opened at 10:00 a.m. in the joint session of the National Assembly and Senate in the capital Islamabad and four provincial assemblies and would continue until 3:00 p.m., without any break. 

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML- N) has fielded a senior party leader, Mamnoon Hussain, for the office to the president. The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) or Justice Movement has nominated a former court’s judge, Wajhiuddin Ahmad. 

It is one- on-one contest as the major opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has boycotted the elections over the change in the original date of polling.

The Supreme Court, on a plea by the PML-N, had ordered the elections to be held on July 30th nearly a week instead of August 6, the previous polling date announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The PPP leaders said they did not have enough time to campaign. The PPP’s allies ANP, PML-Q and BNM-Awami also boycotted the elections.

The election is being held through secret ballot simultaneously at the parliament house and the four provincial assemblies. Un-official results will be announced after the counting is completed, an official said Tuesday.

Nearly 1123 national and provincial lawmakers will poll votes. 

The Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court is presiding over the polling process at the parliament house while the chief justices of the four provinces are presiding over the process in the provincial assemblies.

Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim has asked the voters to ensure secrecy of ballot paper while casting votes in the presidential election.

A spokesman of the Election Commission has said that the election will be held through secret ballot.

The spokesman said the legislators cannot carry mobile phones or any other electronic device through which picture of the ballot paper could be taken in the premises during the voting process.

According to the electoral list issued by the election commission‚ there are 706 electoral votes.

Members of the National Assembly‚ Senate and the Balochistan Assembly have one vote each while number of votes of the three other provincial assemblies are equal to the strength of the Balochistan Assembly‚ which is 65.

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