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ISLAMABAD: Voting has commenced to elect the 13th president of Pakistan today in a three-way contest as the ruling party candidate, Dr Arif Alvi, is assured an easy win owing to failure of the opposition parties to field a joint candidate.
The polling began at 10:00 am and will continue without intervals till 4:00pm. Members of the both house of Parliament and four provincial assemblies will cast their votes in the election.
Two polling booths have been set up in the National Assembly as Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Anwar Kasi are discharging their responsibilities as returning officer and presiding officer, respectively.
The polling has also begun at the Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhhwa assemblies where the chief justices of the respective provinces have been appointed as presiding officers.
As many as 1,121 legislators will cast their votes in the election to the top constitutional office of president.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is most likely to take the Presidency as it has the highest number of party votes in the electoral college for the election.
The ruling party has pitched Dr Arif Alvi who faces Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, fielded by the opposition parties led by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), and the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) presidential candidate Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan.
The PTI leads the electoral college for the election with 361 votes while the strength of the joint opposition, including the PPP and PML-N, stands at 326.
Strict security arrangements have been put in place at the National Assembly, the four provincial assemblies and the Senate for the occasion.
How is a president elected?
The 13th President of Pakistan will be chosen by an electoral college of 706 votes of lawmakers, including 104 senators, 342 members of the national and 260 of the provincial assembly.
In order to ensure equal representation, all provincial assemblies are given 65 votes each in the electoral college.
Each member of the National Assembly gets one vote as do the Senators. 5.70 Punjab parliamentarians’ makeup 1 vote, 2.58 in Sindh, 1.90 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while MPAs in Balochistan, the smallest assembly, get one vote each.
Who will win?
Arif Alvi is likely to poll a total of 337.91 votes (excluding the undecided independents in each house). Rehman is expected to receive 199.1, while Ahsan could be picking up 115.44 votes.