Pakistan lawmakers voting to elect 13th president

Voting in Pakistan’s parliament and four provincial assemblies has gone underway to elect the country’s 13th president, following general elections in July that brought former cricket star Imran Khan to power as prime minister.

The presidential polling began on Tuesday morning and will continue until afternoon local time.

Pakistan’s ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), has officially nominated Arif Alvi as the presidential candidate, while rival Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has named Aitzaz Ahsan for the largely ceremonial post.

The third candidate, Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, has also been named as the joint nominee of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), four smaller parties.

Pakistani presidential candidate and opposition leader Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman (C) arrives at the site of a protest against alleged election rigging, outside the election commission office in Islamabad, Pakistan, August 8, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Pakistan’s new president will be chosen by an electoral college of 706 votes of lawmakers, including 104 senators, 342 members of the national assembly, and 260 provincial assembly members.

Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court is presiding over the election in the parliament, and lawmakers have started casting their votes through secret balloting.

Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza is the returning officer for the presidential election.

Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, speaks to the media after casting his vote at a polling station during the general elections in Islamabad, Pakistan, on July 25, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

At the conclusion of the day’s voting, presiding officers will announce the details of total votes cast, while the final result of the polling will later be announced by the returning officer.

Alvi, the PTI presidential candidate,  expressed confidence earlier in the day that he would be elected as Pakistan’s next president with a clear majority.

“Some opposition members have also pledged support to me,” Alvi told reporters on Tuesday, prior to the presidential polling.

“I will become the president of Pakistan and not of a single party,” he vowed. “I will try to resolve issues such as water scarcity, health, and justice as president of the country.”

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