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By-elections and more

50 0 1
16.07.2022

IT may seem that it is just 20, or some five per cent, of the total 371 seats of the Punjab Assembly which are at stake in this Sunday’s by-elections, but, in fact, a lot more is at risk — not only in the province but also at the national level.

The subject is expected to dominate the headlines even after these by-elections as the next big-ticket item on the political agenda is the Punjab chief minister’s election scheduled for July 22 at 4pm as directed by the Supreme Court. As we know, the chief minister’s election will be directly influenced by the outcome of these by-elections. If the PML-N is able to bag enough of these contested seats, it may be able to retain the chief minister’s slot after proving its majority among the present and voting MPAs in the second round of voting.

The first round of the chief minister’s election took place on April 16 in extremely chaotic conditions. Hamza Shehbaz secured 197 votes including 25 of PTI MPAs who had defied their party and opted to vote for the rival PML-N candidate as chief minister — even though they faced losing their seats in the House. After the Supreme Court order of May 17 declared that the votes of defecting legislators would not be counted in specified assembly proceedings, including the election of chief minister, Hamza Shehbaz’s tally reduced by 25, bringing it down to 172, which ended up being 14 short of the magic number of 186 — more than half of the total membership of the assembly — needed to win the first round.

In such a situation, the Constitution provides for a second round........

© Dawn


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