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Chief Ministerial Election Voting Commences in Punjab Assembly Amid Opposition Walkout

Amid the commencement of the Punjab Assembly session to elect a new chief minister, lawmakers from the opposition Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) protested and walked out. The dispute arose when SIC candidate for CM, Rana Aftab Iqbal, was denied the opportunity to discuss a point of order by Speaker Malik Ahmed Khan, who insisted on proceeding solely with the election.

Speaker Khan, presiding over the session, formed a four-member committee to bring back the protesting lawmakers. The session, convened to elect a new chief minister for the next five years, began over 30 minutes later than scheduled on Monday. The electoral showdown features Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Maryam Nawaz against Sunni Ittehad Council’s Rana Aftab.

Following the announcement of the voting procedure, SIC lawmakers chanted slogans and boycotted the election when the speaker initiated the voting process by ringing the bell. Maryam Nawaz, accompanied by her party MPAs, arrived at the assembly holding a placard with a picture of her father, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

With 327 seats in the Punjab Assembly, the N-league claims support from 224 lawmakers, while the SIC asserts the backing of 103 MPAs. To secure the position of Leader of the House, a candidate needs 186 votes.

During polling, the House will be divided into two sides for each candidate, with lawmakers supporting their choices exiting through designated gates. Bells will signal the end of voting, and the candidate with the majority of votes will be declared the winner. The speaker will inform the governor about the swearing-in ceremony after the chief ministerial election.

Nomination papers for Maryam and Aftab were accepted on Sunday after scrutiny by Speaker Malik Ahmed Khan.

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah emphasized that achieving political stability poses the greatest challenge for the party’s leadership, citing its crucial role in economic stability. He also highlighted the need to address polarization and a culture of misconduct within the party.

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