Opposition rejects Senate Chairman election results

Staff Reporter

Pakistan Democratic Movement on Friday rejected the result of Senate chairman election after their candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani lost the closely-contested battle against the ruling coalition’s Sadiq Sanjrani on Friday.

Addressing a press conference after the announcement of the result, Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ahsan Iqbal claimed that Gilani in fact bagged 49 votes, not 42, adding the seven rejected votes.

He said that the senators who had stamped on the name of the candidate on the ballot paper cannot be considered rejected and should be counted as Gilani’s votes.

Iqbal said that there are Supreme Court and high court decisions regarding voting as well as ruling from the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“The vote cast inside the box is valid even if it is over the name [of the candidate],” he maintained.

Former prime minister and PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also declared Gilani the winner, saying that the government-backed candidate was defeated despite all the efforts from the government.

“Today the parliament was insulted. Chairman Senate has been selected artificially today,” he added.

He said that if Sanjrani was a true democratic person, he would have refused to take up the position. Ashraf further said that the government’s days were numbered and soon the PDM would send it packing.

Ashraf alleged that the “unconstitutional and unlawful” manner in which Gilani’s majority was defeated and the decision was given against him was “worthy of condemnation”. He alleged that those who had talked about the “sanctity and importance”

of the vote had instead planted cameras to affect the polling process, a reference to the “spy cameras” allegedly found near the polling booth in the Senate earlier in the day.

“I think that when we go to the courts and they analyse the ballot papers […] Yousuf Raza Gilani will be successful,” he added.

Both leaders sharply criticised the process through which Gilani’s seven votes were rejected and Ashraf claimed that the PDM had actually won, while the “government candidate has badly failed”.

He questioned why Sanjrani had occupied the seat
despite being in the minority.

“I understand that if he was a politician, a giver of democracy to the country and a lover of democracy then he would’ve himself rejected that I don’t have more votes [and] I don’t have the majority so I am not qualified to be sitting on this chair,” he

He added that the use of such tactics by the government was a sign that “its days are numbered”. “A great joke has been had with democracy. We and the PDM reject this election,” said Ashraf.

Iqbal said the seven rejected votes stood valid according to a decision of the Supreme Court he quoted.

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