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Secret ballot to be held for election of Speaker

ISLAMABAD:   The National Assembly will hold secret ballot for the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker after summoning of the session by the President within 21 days after the general elections.

Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly states that “at the first meeting of the Assembly, following a general election, after the members have made oath and before the transaction of any other business, the Assembly shall proceed to elect a Speaker under clause (1) of Article 53, by secret ballot in accordance with this rule”.

The meeting of the Assembly shall be presided by the outgoing Speaker or, in his absence, by a person nominated by the President for the purpose.

At any time before 12.00 noon on the day preceding the day on which the election is to be held, any member may propose another member for election as Speaker by delivering to the Secretary a nomination paper signed by him and accompanied by a statement by the member whose name is proposed that he is willing to serve as Speaker, if elected.

A member who has been nominated may, in writing, withdraw his candidature at any time before the Assembly proceeds to elect a Speaker.

On the day of election, the Chairperson shall read out to the Assembly the names of the members who have been duly nominated and have not withdrawn their candidature, and also the names of their proposers, and, if there is only one such member, shall declare that member to have been elected.

Where, after withdrawals, if any, there remain only two candidates for election, a ballot shall be held between them and the candidate who secures more votes than the other shall be declared to have been elected. If both the candidates secure an equal number of votes, a fresh ballot shall be held between them until one of them secures more votes than the other, and the candidate securing more votes shall be declared to have been elected.

It is to mention that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member Ayaz Sadiq was elected as the speaker of the National Assembly with 258 votes on June 3, 2013 while he was re-elected as Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan by securing 268 votes on November 9, 2015.  He created new parliamentary history as he was elected twice as Speaker National Assembly during the same tenure of the Assembly.

In the recent elections on July 25, 2018, PTI has emerged as the most successful party with 116 seats followed by PML-N (64), PPPP (43), MMA (12), MQM-P (6), PML & BAP (4 each), BNP (3), GDA (2), JWP, ANP and AML (one each).

PTI will field their candidate for the slot of speaker with the support of its allied parties. With the total 116 seats except for the reserved seats, there would be a tough competition with the contesting candidate of the joint opposition led by PML-N, and followed by PPPP, MMA and some other like-minded parties.

Presently, it looks difficult for the political parties to elect the Speaker of their choice as tough competition is expected against this important constitutional post.