ISLAMABAD: If the opposition parties vote with no confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chair Asad Qaisar, it will be their responsibility to represent the majority of the National Assembly’s total membership, 172 MPs, for the success of their resolution.
The opposition has announced that it will consider moving the non-trust resolution of the prime minister and Speaker at the planned All Parties Conference (APC). Because the ruling alliance will not be obliged to produce its members of parliament during the vote on these motions, it will alienate its members from the process. Some absent members of parliament will use it.
If Pakistan’s parliamentary history is a guide, no motion of distrust of any prime minister has ever succeeded. However, such a move does not confuse the government, because it must keep its members of parliament as a solid block not to vote. With unprecedented difficulties, Benazir Bhutto has defeated a non-trust resolution, sponsored by the opposition led by Nawaz Sharif, against him during his first term as prime minister.
The Constitution and Rules of Procedure and Business Conduct in the National Assembly set out the voting mechanism on a motion of no confidence in the prime minister.
According to Article 95, a resolution on self-confidence that is moved by no less than twenty percent of the total membership of the National Assembly may be passed against the Prime Minister by the National Assembly. It will not be chosen before the expiration of three days, or longer than seven days, from the day on which it is transferred. It will not be transferred to the National Assembly when considering the federal budget. If it is authorized by a majority of the total membership, the Prime Minister will stop holding office.
The second schedule of regulations says before the ballot begins, the Speaker will direct the bell to be sounded for five minutes so that members who are not present at the booth attend. As soon as the bell stops ringing, all entrances to the lobby will be locked and secretariat staff installed at each entrance will not allow entry or exit through the entrance until voting is complete.
The speaker will then read the resolution before the National Assembly and ask members who wish to vote to approve it in a single file through the entrance where the teller will be posted to record the vote. Upon reaching the cashier’s desk, each member will, in turn, call the distribution number given to him. The teller will mark the number on the division list while simultaneously calling on the name of the member. To ensure that his voice is recorded correctly, the member will not move until he clearly hears the cashier calling his name. After a member records the sound, he will not return to the room until the bell rings.
When the Speaker finds out that all members who want to vote have recorded their votes, he will announce that the voting has finished. The Secretary will cause the division list to be collected, count the recorded voices and present the results to the Speaker, who will direct the bells to ring for two minutes to allow members to return to the room. The speaker will then announce the results to the National Assembly.
The success of the vote of no confidence in the Chair will be as difficult as the resolution of no confidence in the prime minister. Under the rules, while the Speaker can only be overthrown by a majority vote, 172, he, in certain cases, does not require large calculations for his election.
Citing regulations, legal experts say that Speakers can be overthrown only through a majority of the National Assembly’s total membership but such numerical powers are not required to elect a candidate for this slot. These positions are set out in Rule 10. Rule 10 provides an interesting scenario – in certain cases, the majority of the total membership is not required for successful candidate selection. It was said where, after the withdrawal of the nomination, there were still more than two contestants for the election, who obtained more votes than the aggregate of the other ballots would be declared elected. If no one gets more votes than the aggregate ballots from other candidates, there will be a new ballot in which the candidate who pocketes the lowest number of votes on the last ballot will be excluded from the race. Voting will, in the same way, be continued until one contestant gets more votes than the remaining candidates or candidates in the aggregate. Such contestants will be declared elected.
Where, at each vote, three or more candidates get the same number of votes and one of them must be excluded from the election, the question of who will be drawn will be determined by drawing a lottery.
Further rules say that, after withdrawal, there are only two aspirants in the process, ballots will be held between them and candidates who get more votes than others will be declared elected. If both of them secure the same number of votes, new ballots will be held between them until one of them gets more votes than the other. One who wins more votes will be declared elected.