ISLAMABAD: The federal capital will witness its first ever election for the office of Islamabad mayor, which the ruling PML-N is sure to win on Feb 15.

PML-N and PTI appeared to be close during the first round of local government elections in the city that elected the chairmen, deputy chairmen and members of 50 union councils (UC), with over a dozen independents playing a decisive role.

But PML-N came out far ahead of its competitors when it won the support of nearly all the independents, and now has 32 UC chairmen – followed by PTI’s 18.

These UC chairmen are ex-officio members of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC), and elected 27 members of the IMC on reserved seats with PML-N clinching 18 of the 27 seats, and the remaining nine going to PTI.

Now, the 77 IMC members will vote to elect a mayor and three deputy mayors. The PML-N and PTI have 50 and 27 votes in their hands, respectively.

Sources told Dawn that Ansar Aziz from PML-N, who won a technocrat seat in the IMC, will be fielded as the party’s mayoral candidate.

They added that Riffat Javed, a close relative of the capital administration and development division (CADD) minister, will also receive a ticket to contest one of the three deputy mayor seats.

Sources said that the party has also decided that two candidates for the office of deputy mayor will be from NA-48, and these two candidates are likely to be Malik Aftab and Malik Sajjad. Another source, however, claimed that two of the four chairmen from NA-48 - Sardar Mehtab Ahmad, Chaudhry Naeem Ali Gujjar, Shani Shah and Malik Tipu - will be given PML-N tickets.

PTI has already announced that it will contest the election for mayor and deputy mayors, but the candidates’ names have yet to be finalised by the party.

According to the schedule announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday, nomination papers for the office of IMC mayor and deputy mayors will be submitted on Feb 3, and scrutiny will take place on Feb 8.

Feb 11 has been set as the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers, and the final list of candidates will be published the following day. Feb 15 has been marked polling day, and results will be announced on Feb 16.

Under local government laws, the metropolitan corporation will implement the rules and bylaws governing public utilities, approve development schemes for the beautification of urban areas, develop an integrated system for the provision of municipal services, promote technological parks, cottages, small and medium enterprises and prevent and remove encroachments.

It will also be responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the municipal infrastructure, such as roads and streets, street lighting, playgrounds, open spaces, graveyards and slaughterhouses.

The mayor will be the executive head of the metropolitan corporation, and will present tax and budget proposals to the corporation, conduct inspections of the municipal offices functioning under the corporation and devise a mechanism for accountability and oversight in municipal matters.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2016