Polling for Pakistan parliament’s upper house was today underway in the national and provincial assemblies with as many as 132 candidates in the fray for 48 seats as the ruling PML-N is vying to get a majority in the Senate.
The polling started at 9 am and will continue till 4 pm following which the counting will start.
Four candidates have already been elected unopposed when the process for election started last month.
The Senate is a continuous body and the Senators are elected for six years but under the law, half of the 104-member House retire after every three years.
The Senate gives equal representation to all four provinces, including 23 each from the four provinces, eight from FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and four from Islamabad.
The seats allocated to a province comprise 14 general seats, four reserved for women, four for technocrats and one for a minority member.
The senators are elected by provincial assembles and the national assembly.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, 84 candidates will contest for 33 general seats from the provinces, FATA and the federal capital, 22 for eight seats reserved for women from the provinces and the federal capital and 18 for eight seats reserved for technocrats.
Eight candidates will contest for two seats reserved for minorities one each from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The provincial assemblies had been declared polling stations for the respective provinces and the National Assembly for four senators from FATA and two from Islamabad.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has banned carrying cellphones or any other electronic devices while entering the assemblies’ premises that have been declared as polling stations for the respective provinces.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the main opposition Pakistan people’s Party (PPP) are expected to secure almost equal representation in senate.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will get representation in the Upper House for the first time while the PPP is expected to lose its majority in the Senate after the elections.