National Assembly to pick 18th prime minister on Tuesday

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ISLAMABAD: Following disqualification of Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court, the National Assembly of Pakistan will pick the country’s eighteenth prime minister on Tuesday (tomorrow), for which major political parties have already fielded their respective candidates.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has fielded Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as its candidate for prime minister.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has nominated Khursheed Shah and Naveed Qamar, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has fielded Sheikh Rasheed as it nominee.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Jamaat-e-Islami have named Kishwar Zehra and Sahibzada Tariqullah respectively in the election for new prime minister.

According to the Constitution and rules of the House, the speaker will announce the process for members to elect a new Leader of the House. For five minutes, bells will be rung in the lobby to let members gather inside the assembly hall.

There are three seats empty, including the one of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in the 342-seat lower house of the parliament. It is likely that all of the remaining 339 members will take part in Tuesday’s voting process.

The speaker will announce the name of every member one-by-one and in alphabetical order to receive his/her ballot paper. The members would mark the candidate of their choice with a tick on the ballot paper and put it in the ballot box.

If a member of the assembly impresses any other mark on the ballot paper other than the checkmark and/or ticked more than one name, did not impress the mark correctly or left the ballot paper unmarked, his vote will be rejected.

Upon completion of the voting process, bells will again be rung for two minutes so that members could again gather in the hall to listen to the result.

The speaker will announce the result and the successful candidate and those who contested the election would be a given chance to address the House.

Due to the vacant seat of Leader of the House, no other business can take place in the House except for the election process, according to assembly rules.

According to the Constitution, the process of PM’s election would continue as long as a candidate achieves clear majority – 172 votes.

After the PM’s election, the newly-elect Leader of the House will take oath of his office at the Presidency. The incumbent president will administer oath to the new prime minister.

The tradition is that the president also administers oath to members of the new cabinet.