PTI, PML-Q set to boycott Punjab CM vote recount today
PML-N hopeful that Hamza Shehbaz will win again
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In compliance with the Lahore High Court yesterday’s order, the Punjab Assembly will hold a recount of the votes polled during the April 16 election of chief minister at 4pm today (Friday) after excluding votes of 25 PTI dissident members. But the PML-Q and PTI have decided to boycott the process while the latter has already challenged the LHC’s decision in the Supreme Court, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Though the court has ordered the recount to bring the province out of political crisis, but the opposition PTI and PML-Q, on the other hand, have decided not to participate in today’s exercise, maintaining their presence would validate the process.
Sources divulged to 24News TV channel that a decision has been taken by both the parties but it will be announced before the start of the assembly session.
The LHC in its eight-page written verdict on Thursday ordered the presiding officer to recount the votes polled during the election of chief minister by excluding 25 votes of the PTI rebel MPAs who voted for Hamza Shehbaz on April 16 last. If the required majority for Hamza — which is 186 votes in the 371-member strong house — to stay the CM is not secured, the election will be held again under Article 130(4), unless another candidate has majority votes.
According to Article 130(4), in the second round of voting, a member will not require 186 votes but simply needs a majority of those "present and voting" to be elected the chief minister.
The court said that Hamza would cease to be the chief minister if he loses the required majority after the exclusion of 25 votes by the presiding officer. However, it pointed out, functions performed and powers exercised by Hamza will be "protected under the de facto doctrine" in accordance with the law.
However, the PML-N sits at ease with the re-election verdict as the party enjoys majority with 164 votes in Punjab Assembly, whereas, its archrival PTI has been left with 158 votes after the disqualification of its 25 dissident MPAs.
The PML-N had 165 votes in the House earlier. One of its MPAs resigned; nevertheless, the party still maintains majority in the assembly with 164 votes.
The seven MPAs of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) also support the PML-N, taking the number of votes to 172.
On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had 183 votes earlier. After the disqualification of its 25 dissident MPAs, it has been left with 158 MPAs in the House.
Moreover, the 10 MPAs of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) also support the PTI, taking the number of its votes to 168.
The role of five independent MPAs becomes crucial in this situation.
To gain simple majority, Hamza Shehbaz needs 14 more votes.
According to the sub-clause (4) of Article 130 of the Constitution, if either of the two candidates fails to gain the simple majority with 186 votes, a re-election for the leader of the House will be held.
The candidate, who gains majority in the re-poll, will be elected as the Leader of the House.
However, the government collation partners – PML-N and PTI - in order to keep their fold intact, have assembled their members at Swiss Hotel in Lahore. All the members will go to the Punjab Assembly under the leadership of Hamza Shehbaz. They will leave after the performance of Juma prayers.
The PML-N leaders are of the view that Hamza again would be re-elected with majority votes today.
Reporter Umar Aslam