Veteran politican Mamnoon Hussain has been elected as the 12th president of Pakistan, reports leading Pakistani daily Dawn. Hussain is the candidate of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party and a close ally of prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Mamnoon Hussain will be sworn in on September 9, when outgoing president Asif Ali Zardari’s five-year term expires.
Victory a cakewalk for Mamnoon Hussain
Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim said Tuesday that Mamnoon Hussain got 432 votes in total from the assemblies of Pakistan’s four provinces and the two houses of parliament. Hussain needed 263 votes to secure a victory, which proved to be a cakewalk as he received a whopping 277 votes out of 311 in National Assembly and Senate. He was the clear winner in the provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan and Punjab, and received 41 of 110 votes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government was ousted in a coup in 1999. Sharif returned to power in May. The dominance of PML-N in parliament ensured an easy win for Mamnoon Hussain. Hussain’s opponent Retd Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed received 77 votes, though he had the backing of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The chief election commissioner said that nine votes were rejected.
Mamnoon Hussain likely to be a figurehead
73-year old Mamnoon Hussain is a Karachi-based textile businessman. He was the governor of Sindh province for five months in 1999. Immediately after the election results, Hussain resigned his membership of the PML-N party. The Guardian says that Mamnoon Hussain has been associated closely with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) since early 1960s.
Usually, presidents in Pakistan have acted as figureheads, though army commander General Pervez Musharraf wielded a lot of power during his presidency. However, most of the powers were stripped during the presidency of Asif Ali Zardari. Though Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won the 2008 elections, he has faced huge criticism as the country went through the crisis after crisis. Recently IMF bailed out the country in a $5.3 billion bailout agreement.