Vote count continues after senate polling ends


.— File photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani lawmakers on Saturday cast votes in secret for new senators in parliament’s upper house in an election that looks set to boost the ruling party, as it tries to revive the political fortunes of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Winning control of the Senate could enable the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to change the constitution to make former prime minister and party leader Sharif eligible to hold office again when the party contests a national election due later this year.

A total of 135 candidates, which includes 25 women, are contesting the 52 senate seats. The elected senators would serve a six year term.

The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) currently controls the 104-seat senate but is expected to be replaced by the PML-N as the single biggest party. With its allies in the senate, PML-N is tipped to take control of the chamber.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the speaker of the National Assembly, cast the first vote in the elections in capital Islamabad, the parliamentary media wing said on Saturday morning.

Polling took place in Pakistan’s four provincial assemblies and the federal parliament, with officials expecting final results later today.— Reuters