Today, the parliament and provincial assemblies of the country gathered together to vote and crown the thirteenth President of the country. After two weeks of speculation, competition and failed efforts by the opposition to unite, Dr. Arif Alvi of PTI has gone on to become the next president.
Considering that the opposition had pitched two candidates, lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, and JUI-F Chief Fazlur-Rehman, thus dividing whatever votes the opposition could scramble, it was highly expected that Alvi would win. It was through the votes of the Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly where Dr Alvi really dominated- securing 45 out of 60 votes in the Balochistan Assembly, and 78 out of 109 votes in the KP Assembly. In the parliament, it was a harder battle for PTI where it snagged a bare minimum of 212 votes out of a total 430, its underwhelming performance being due to PTI’s comparatively fewer number of seats in the Senate.
After this highly unsurprising election, we congratulate PTI and Dr. Alvi for clinching the spot for President, and hope that this election serves as a lesson to the opposition that unless it learns to put aside its petty differences, it cannot hope to wield any influence for the next five years. Had the now-failed Pakistan Alliance managed pitch one candidate, there was a chance it could have manipulated the numbers to grab the last powerful position available in the government.
Now that the last competitive elections for the government, other than the by-elections, are over, it is time for all of us to move past politics and focus on governance. From the looks of it, the President-elect, Dr. Alvi makes for a good choice for the position. Being a dentist, holding degrees from de Montmonrency College of Dentistry, it is expected that Dr. Alvi will highlight education and health issues in his stint as President. Certainly, Dr. Alvi’s statement yesterday where he emphasised bringing awareness to mental health is an encouraging sign that he will bring dignity and statesmanship to the President Office.
The post of President is mostly a symbolic position- while a good President is limited in his power, a President wanting to wreck havoc can be chaotic. With Alvi’s profile as a hard loyalist member of PTI, and having written the constitution of the party, it seems likely that he will function along the lines of the party, and the PTI parliament doesn’t have anything to worry about presidential clashes.