Arif Alvi elected 13th President of Pakistan

* President-elect Alvi's votes equalled the combined votes of Aitzaz Ahsan and Maulana Fazlur Rahman in the Parliament, but the former led the opposition candidates with 44 votes in provincial legislatures * Alvi vows to ensure through his conduct that he is the President of the entire country

A three-way race paved the way for an easy victory for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Arif Alvi in the presidential election on Tuesday.

In the National Assembly and Senate, 430 votes were polled, of which six were rejected. President-elect Alvi received 212 votes, while his opponents – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led opposition’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Aitzaz Ahsan – got 131 and 81 votes, respectively.

While the combined opposition vote in the Parliament equalled the votes polled by Alvi, the latter led the opposition candidates, even with their votes combined, in the final count of provincial legislatures.

Based on the Election Commission of Pakistan’s formula for calculation of the electoral college for the presidential election, Alvi got 141 votes from legislatures in all four provinces – 33 of the 58.34 votes polled in the Punjab Assembly, 22 of the 60.74 in the Sindh Assembly, 41 of the 57.13 in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Assembly and 45 of the 60 polled in the Balochistan Assembly.

PML-N led opposition alliance secured 55 votes – 25 in Punjab, 1 in Sindh, 14 in KP, and 15 in Balochistan. PPP’s Ahsan got 42 votes, 39 of which came from Sindh, just one from Punjab and two from KP. Even with their votes combined, the opposition candidates trailed Alvi with 44 votes.

In the Punjab Assembly, 16 of the 18 votes rejected were apparently cast by PML-N lawmakers. This led the party’s leadership to hold a press conference after the announcement of the result in which they accused the PTI-led coalition of having once again stolen their mandate, implying that some of the party’s lawmakers could have entered an understanding with the ruling party to deliberately cast their votes in a manner that they would be cancelled.

Earlier in the day, two polling booths were set up in the National Assembly. Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Anwar Kasi discharged their responsibilities as returning officer and presiding officer, respectively.

The polling began at the both at both houses of the Parliament and all four provincial assemblies at 10am and continued without break till 4pm. Prime Minister Imran Khan, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari are among those who cast their ballots in the presidential election at the National Assembly.

Strict security arrangements were put in place to prevent any untoward incident.

Speaking to the media after his election as the 13th president, Alvi thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for nominating him as the party’s candidate. He also thanked allied parties who voted for him. He said that he would ensure through his conduct that he was the president of the entire country, and not a leader of a specific party.

Referring to the issue of security protocols, he said that a distinction needed to be made between security needs and other unnecessary protocols. He said he would maintain his security protocol to a minimum.

Published in Daily Times, September 5th 2018.