Gillani likely to be prime minister with over two-third vote

March 24th, 2008 - 9:57 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, March 24 (IANS) Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, the candidate of the coalition led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), is set to become prime minister with more than two-thirds of the vote Monday. The National Assembly (NA), or the lower house of the parliament, will meet in the evening to elect the leader of the house. Gillani will be facing former chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi for election of prime minister. The election will be held by division of the house where the speaker will ask members in favour of Gillani to assemble in one corner and those voting for Elahi in the other.

The election of prime minister is held through open ballot where every member records his or her vote with the assembly staff in presence of the speaker.

The coalition which includes the PPP, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Awami National Party (ANP) and other smaller parties claim to be confident of Gillani getting around 270 votes in the 342-member house.

Talking to reporters over a dinner Sunday night hosted by speaker of the National Assembly, Fahmida Mirza, Gillani vowed to take along all coalition partners in their struggle for the supremacy of parliament, the restoration of the constitution, sovereignty of national institutions, and freedom of the media.

Gillani, 55, is a party loyalist who was chosen by Benazir Bhutto as speaker of the National Assembly after coming to power in 1993. The electoral debacle of 1997 saw him back in his constituency in Multan but, in 2001, an anti-corruption court sentenced him to ten years in prison with 100 million rupees as fine.

As a result of this conviction and incarceration, he could not fight the 2002 elections. His mother and sister died while he was in jail. Then in 2006 his prison term was set aside by the Punjab High Court. He has emerged as the leading PPP winner in south Punjab in the 2008 elections and will be the province’s bridge to dominating Sindhi politics.

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