Friday, July 01, 2022
Web Desk

How likely is Hamza to retain CM slot after vote recount?

Web Desk
Chief Minister of Punjab Hamza Shahbaz. — Twitter/@HamzaSS
Chief Minister of Punjab Hamza Shahbaz. — Twitter/@HamzaSS

  • Votes cast in poll for Punjab CM on April 16 to be counted today.
  • LHC orders recount of votes minus 25 PTI dissidents.
  • Punjab's number game becomes centre of attention again.

What are Hamza Shahbaz's chances of retaining the Punjab chief minister's slot after the recounting of votes in today's (Friday) Punjab Assembly session?

The Lahore High Court (LHC) had ordered a recount of the votes cast in April 16 election of Punjab chief minister while excluding the votes of PTI's 25 dissident MPAs to see whether Hamza still has the majority without the dissidents' support.

The number game in the province has again become the centre of attention, an article by The News stated. As per the written verdict of the Lahore High Court, it was the “undeniable fact” that 25 PTI MPAs had voted in favour of Hamza, despite the party nominating PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi as its candidate.

The dissident lawmakers’ move went against Article 63 A(1)(b) of the Constitution. It is pertinent to mention that Hamza Shehbaz had bagged 197 votes, including 25 from PTI dissidents, four from independents and one from the Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party (PRHP) MPA. Five rebel PML-N lawmakers had abstained from voting in favour of Hamza during the April 16 Punjab chief minister election.

The magic number required to show majority is 186.

According to the verdict of LHC, after recounting the votes today, the tally of Hamza Shehbaz will be shortened to 172 votes after the exclusion of 25 votes of PTI dissident lawmakers.

In this case, re-election will take place under Article 130(4) of the Constitution, which means that in this second round of voting, a member does not need to show support of a majority of 186 votes but simply requires more votes than any other candidate to be elected as the chief minister.

It seems that in the run-off election, Hamza will be able to retain his slot of Chief Minister because he has been able to regain the support of three rebel PML-N lawmakers who had earlier not taken part in the election. With the inclusion of these three MPAs, the count of Hamza Shehbaz has reached 175, constituting 163 from the PML-N, seven from the PPP, four Independent lawmakers and one from the PRHP.

PML-N leader Attaullah Tarar on Thursday claimed that his party has a majority of 9 votes in the Punjab Assembly. On the other hand, despite the rift between the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, the PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain extended his support to Parvez Elahi by saying that Pervaiz Elahi is our candidate for the chief minister and PML-Q MPAs will vote for him. The PMLQ-PTI bloc presently has a total of 168 votes, constituting 158 PTI lawmakers and 10 from the “Q” League. If things remain the same, the PML-N will knock out its political rivals by two votes and Hamza will become the chief minister again.

The only way Pervaiz Elahi can be elected chief minister if some members siding with Hamza sit on the fence from voting today.

The current number game in the province is:

  • PML-N — 165 seats
  • PTI — 158 seats
  • PPP — 8 seats
  • PML-Q — 10
  • Independent MPAs: 5 seats
  • Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party — 1 seat