Pakistani government-backed candidate Sadiq Sanjrani has been re-elected as Speaker of the Senate, the upper house of parliament. His victory is seen as a relief for Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan’s ruling party Tehreek-e-Insaf. Sanjrani, the current Senate Speaker, was backed by Prime Minister Khan’s coalition and defeated Yusuf Raza Gilani, the United Opposition candidate and former Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Sanjrani won 48 votes in the 99-member Senate while Gilani had to settle for 42 votes. The election results are a setback for the common opposition which had to face defeat despite a majority in the upper house. A total of 98 senators voted in the election. According to the Dawn newspaper, the opposition contested the election results when it was announced that seven votes in favor of the opposition candidate Geelani had been rejected.
But President Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah rejected his objection, saying that seven votes were rejected because they were not stamped. A vote was rejected because it was in favor of both candidates. The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement nominated Geelani and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Hydari as president and vice-president respectively.
The government had already announced that outgoing President Sanjrani would be its candidate for another term. Prime Minister Khan nominated Senator Mirza Mohammad Afridi for the post of Vice President. Previously, the opposition had claimed that intelligence cameras had been installed in the polling stations planned for the election of the two posts.