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PPP, PML-Q leaders discuss election alliance

Published Dec 09, 2011 10:09pm

The meeting of Chaudhry Shujaat and Pervez EIahi with Bilawal and Yousuf Raza Gilani was part of these deliberations. — Photo by PPI

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9: With Imran Khan arguably winning over many youths and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif increasing contacts with politicians sitting on the fence to bring them to his side, the ruling PPP and PML-Q are discussing their formal alliance for the next elections. Leaders of the PPP and PML-Q met at the Prime Minister’s House on Friday to discuss their future political strategy.

The two parties, already in alliance at the centre, have been pledging to support each other in the next general election due in February 2013, but are yet to formally announce their electoral alliance.

The meeting of PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Senior Minister Chaudhry Pervez EIahi with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was part of these deliberations, sources close to the meeting told Dawn.

They said the two sides agreed that time had come to formally lock the deal between the two parties because many ‘electable’ politicians who could be described as swing candidates were still sceptical about the coalition and, therefore, looking towards other parities.

Both sides agreed to infuse an element of urgency in their talks aimed at a formal electoral alliance between them.

According to an official handout, Chaudhry Shujaat and Chaudhry Pervez called on the prime minister and discussed with him the current political situation.

“In principle, the two parties have already decided to go for seat to seat adjustment in all future elections, a decision which was put into effect in recent by-elections,” PMLQ information secretary Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn. In reply to question about the nitty-gritty of the seat adjustment formula, Mr Agha said it was being discussed between the two parties and would be duly worked out well in time before the next elections.

About chances of the PML-Q returning to the PML-N, Mr Agha said: “We have reached a point where it is next to impossible to have an alliance with the N-League at least for the next elections.”

According to PMLQ sources, the issue of seat to seat adjustment came under discussion at the meeting and a likely agreed formula would be that the two parties would retain their previously winning seats. The decision on other constituencies, where candidates of the two parties had lost in 2008 general elections, would be taken on the basis of maximum number of votes bagged by the candidates.

The PPP has 127, PML-N 91 and PML-Q 50 seats in the National Assembly.

According a PML-Q MNA, even if the party manages to secure tickets near to 50 as a result of electoral alliance with the PPP, it will be a win-win situation for its leaders because unlike 2008 when PML-N leaders just returned to the country from exile in Saudi Arabia, this time it would contest the elections with full preparation. The PTI factor, which also featured the Friday meeting, could also not be ignored, he added.

According to the official press release, the Chaudhry cousins assured the prime minister of their resolve to continue to work jointly for strengthening the democratic system. They had also enquired about the health of President Asif Ali Zardari from Mr Bilawal who also attended the meeting, it added.

The PPP chairman thanked the PML-Q leaders for their best wishes for President Zardari. During the meeting, President Zardari called the prime minister who informed him about the presence of the PML-Q leaders. The president thanked Chaudhry Shujaat and Chaudhry Pervez for enquiring about his health and for their prayers for his health.