ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s opposition alliance has failed to develop a consensus on fielding a joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election despite several rounds of talks and discussions, on Sunday.
“No consensus is developed so far for a unanimous candidate of all the opposition parties for presidential election,” Senator Mushahidullah Khan, secretary information to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, confirmed to Arab News.
He said that Pakistan Peoples Party has nominated a candidate for the slot of President who is unacceptable to the PML-N leadership.
“We feel the PPP has intentionally nominated its leader Aitzaz Ahsan for the President to destroy the opposition alliance,” he said, adding the PPP nominee has been involved in mudslinging on the PML-N leadership.
Giving details of negotiations, he said the representatives of all opposition parties have held three rounds of talks so far – one in Murree on Saturday and two in Islamabad on Sunday – to reach a consensus but in vain.
“The split in the opposition alliance will definitely benefit the ruling party,” he said.
However Naveed Chaudhry PPP leader told Arab News “Our part leadership has refused to pull out the nominations of Atizaz Ahshan, as he is considered to be the most suitable candidate for the slot.”
The five-year term of incumbent President Mamnoon Hussain is set to expire on September 9. Election for next President will be held on September 4 through a secret ballot.
On the other hand, the country’s ruling coalition claimed that it would win the presidential election easily.
“We are confident to win the presidential election because we have the required numbers in Parliament and all four provincial assemblies,” Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Information, told Arab News.
He said the PTI along with its allies will get its nominee Dr. Arif Alvi elected for the position of President easily.
“We have been reaching out to independents in Parliament and provincial assemblies for vote,” he said, “our nominee will win with a quite majority even if the so-called opposition alliance fields a joint candidate for the slot.”
The Electoral College for presidential election includes members of National Assembly (342), Senate (104) and all four provincial assemblies (260) which collectively make 706 votes.
The ruling coalition is expected to secure 349 votes against the opposition alliance which could bag 320 votes in case of a joint candidate. Independents lawmakers in the Parliament and all four provincial assemblies collectively have 20 votes for the presidential election.
Political analysts said the opposition alliance was temporary and bound to fail because all the parties in it have different political interests.
“Political parties in the opposition alliance have different ideologies and political interests. Therefore the difference of opinion is quite natural,” Professor Tahir Malik, academic and political analyst, told Arab News.
He said that it would not be less than a miracle if the opposition parties agreed to field a consensus candidate for the presidential election.
Pakistan Peoples Party is one of the major opposition parties in the Parliament, he said, adding that it is difficult for its leadership to join hands with its decades-old rival party, PML-N for an election that they are surely going to lose.
In election for the post of Prime Minister on August 17, the PML-N candidate for the slot Shehbaz Sharif had secured only 96 votes because the PPP abstained from the voting process.
Rasul Bukhsh Rais, political analyst, said the two major parties in the opposition alliance – the PPP and PML-N – have had conflicting relationship for the last thirty years as they had registered criminal cases against leadership of each others, so it is not easy for them to become allies.
“The opposition alliance would remain in the name only as practically it would be ineffective for next five years due to conflict of interest of each party in the alliance,” he told Arab News.