ISLAMABAD: Senior legal and constitutional experts say that simple majority of the total membership of National Assembly (172 members) is not mandatory for the election of the prime minister as a candidate having majority among the present and voting members can become the prime minister.
In the present situation, elections on two National Assembly constituencies were postponed and according to so far announcements, nine seats will become vacant and thus 331 members will be present for voting on the day of election of the leader of the house in NA. In this case, the coalition having support of the 166 MNAs will be able to make its candidate the Prime Minister.
Those who will vacate their seats include Imran Khan (4 seats), Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi of PML-Q (2 seats), Tahir Sadiq of PTI (one seat), Ghulam Sarwar Khan of PTI (one seat), Pervaiz Khattak (one seat, but he want to continue in provincial assembly of KP though his party wants him in the centre.) In case, he comes in NA, the total seats in NA will become 332 and in that case 167 members will be needed for majority.
Former law minister in PMLN government Zahid Hamid while talking to The News said that under article 91 of the constitution, on the day of election for the leader of the house in National Assembly, in the first round, one of the contesting candidates will be supposed to get simple majority of the total membership of the NA which is 172. However, if no one will be able to get simple majority, in the second round, the two candidates who would have obtained highest number of votes during the first round will contest again and the one having majority among the members present and voting will win and become the Prime Minister. He said that there can also be a third round in case both the candidates in the second round will get equal number of votes. He said that the third will continue until one of the candidates will succeed in getting more votes than the other.
Abid Hassan Minto, one of the top legal brains in the country, told The News that simply obtaining simple majority is not a must for the election of the Prime Minister. He said that the number of MNAs present in the house will matter when the National Assembly meets to elect the Prime Minister. He said that the MNAs who will be present at the time of election of prime minister will decide who should be their prime minister. “Even if only 200 members of National Assembly take part for the PM election, the person with majority votes out of those 200 MNAs will be elected as Prime Minister," Minto explained.
Senior legal and constitutional expert and former Chairman Senate Wassim Sajjad while talking to The News said that the total members of the National Assembly who will be present on the day of voting for the position of the leader of the house will elect the Prime Minister with majority of their vote. He said that getting simple majority of the total membership of the national assembly is not a must condition.
Article 91(4) of the constitution reads: (4) The Prime Minister shall be elected by the votes of the majority of the total membership of the National Assembly:
Provided that, if no member secures such majority in the first poll, a second poll shall be held between the members who secure the two highest numbers of votes in the first poll and the member who secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting shall be declared to have been elected as Prime Minister:
Provided further that, if the number of votes secured by two or more members securing the highest number of votes is equal, further poll shall be held between them until one of them secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting.
According to latest party position on ECP website, PTI will have 154 members, while its ally PML-Q will have 3, GDA 2, AML 1 which make the total number of this coalition 160. It will be a difficult situation and PTI will be needing support from other parties as well. If BNP-M (with 4 seats), BAP (with 5 seats) and JWP (with one seat) also support PTI led coalition, its total strength will become 170. If MQM also decides to support coalition led by the PTI, its total strength will become 177 members. (PTI-154, MQM-7, PML-Q-3, BAP-5, BNP-M-4, GDA-2, AML-1, JWP-1). Without more partners, it will be difficult for the PTI to form the government in the present situation with only PML-Q, AML and GDA as its allies.