Pakistani lawmakers have overwhelmingly elected Mamnoon Hussain, a close political ally of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for the largely ceremonial post of president.
MamNoon Hussain, Pakistan's 12th president:
- Close ally of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PML-N stalwart
- A textile businessman; age-73
- Born in India migrated to Pakistan with family at the time of partition
- Former Sindh province governor with little political experience
- Replaces Asif Ali Zardari, whose five-year term is expiring
- Assumes largely ceremonial post in September
The head of the election commission Fakhruddin Ibrahim says Mr. Hussain received 432 votes. His only challenger, retired judge Wajihuddin Ahmed, received 77 votes.
Tuesday's results are based on ballots cast by both houses of parliament and four provincial assemblies.
Mr. Hussain is a textile businessman and served briefly as a governor of the southern Sindh province. He will be sworn in on September 9, replacing Asif Ali Zardari as president.
The election was boycotted by Mr. Zardari's opposition PPP (Pakistan People's Party) after the Supreme Court granted a request by the ruling PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) party to move the election forward from August 6.
Some lawmakers said they wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage during the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Lawmakers told VOA Urdu Service that the PPP reiterated its criticism of the rescheduling, on Tuesday, while the PML-N defended the move and said the opposition party should have approached the judiciary if it had concerns about the new date.
Analysts say the president's post makes little difference in the government because the prime minister has the most power.
"As a result Mr. Mamnoon is declared returned candidate, elected to the office of the President of Pakistan,' said Ibrahim. 'The official result count is being forwarded to the federal government today through [the] secretary cabinet for the issuance of formal notifications by the government."