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Dhaka Tribune

Pakistan's ruling coalition wins Senate polls

Pakistan's ruling coalition won a majority in Senate polls, with the PPP likely to lead the Senate

Update : 03 Apr 2024, 05:41 PM

Pakistan's ruling coalition seized a majority in Senate polls on Tuesday, unofficial results showed, after the election commission delayed the vote in a province controlled by loyalists of jailed ex-premier Imran Khan.

Polls for half the Senate's 96 seats are held every three years, elected by lawmakers from Pakistan's four provincial assemblies and the lower house of parliament.

Early results returned by provincial election commissions showed the ruling coalition had taken most of the seats that were up for grabs.

18 senators from Punjab and Balochistan stood unopposed. The results will be confirmed by the central election commission in the coming days.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the second-largest coalition partner, are expected to appoint the leader of the Senate, after securing the most seats.

So far, they have not played a major role in the government, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, taking only the presidential role for party patriarch Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto.

The vote in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly was postponed due to a delay in reserved seats for women and religious minorities being appointed, the election commission said.

"The Constitution has been violated multiple times in this country," chief minister of the province Ali Amin Gandapur told the media.

"I want to make it clear that in this province we will fight, like our leader."

Khan has been jailed since August in a series of cases he claims were designed to stop him from contesting February's national elections, which were marred by vote-rigging allegations.

Candidates from Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party were forced to run as independents, blocked from campaigning and subject to online and media censorship.

Despite the crackdown, they won the most seats but were kept from power by a coalition of rival parties that had the backing of the military.

They had also been expected to retain the most seats in the Senate, until the vote was delayed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on Monday had 14-year prison terms for graft suspended by Islamabad High Court, with an appeal against the conviction still pending.

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