ISLAMABAD – Mamnoon Hussain, a veteran Pakistani politician and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s trusted ally, is expected to win next week’s presidential election after being nominated by the ruling party as a candidate in the largely ceremonial vote.
Ousted in a bloodless military coup in 1999, Sharif swept back into power in a May 11 general election that marked the first transition between civilian governments in a country ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history. Traditionally presidents have been figureheads in Pakistan although incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari, whose term expires in September, wielded considerable influence under the previous administration. Hussain, an active member of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party since the 1960s, is seen as the front-runner to replace Zardari in the July 30 vote. “The president is meant to be nonpartisan, the whole country’s president,” Hussain told reporters outside the Islamabad High Court where he submitted his nomination papers on Wednesday.
Traditionally presidents have been figureheads in Pakistan although incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari, whose term expires in September, wielded considerable influence under the previous administration.
On the other hand the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a new schedule for the presidential election following orders of the Supreme Court to hold polls on July 30.
According to the new schedule, scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on July 26 and July 27 has been set as the date to withdraw nomination papers.
The final list of candidates will also be available on July 27. The printing of ballot papers will be completed by July 28 and the papers will be distributed on July 29.
Polling on July 30 will be held from 10 AM till 3 PM.
Members of the National and provincial assemblies along senators will take part in the polling. The new president will be sworn in after the tenure of President Asif Ali Zardari expires on September 8.
“God willing, I will be every Pakistani’s president.” Presidents in Pakistan are elected by an electoral college made up of members of the two houses of parliament and members of assemblies in Pakistan’s four provinces – Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. In the May 11 general election, Sharif’s PML-N won 124 of a total 272 seats, with its nearest rival, Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), winning 31. Zardari is not standing for president again.