LAHORE - The ruling PML-N is promised to improve its tally in the next Senate elections due to be held for 52 seats of the 104-member Upper House after four months in March 2015 when half of the senators will be retiring on completion of their six-year term.

The senators are elected by the members of the provincial legislatures, and the composition of the existing assemblies gives the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz an edge over other parties.

The party headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to add eight to 10 more seats to its current strength of 16, while with the help of its coalition partners in Balochistan government and the JUI-F in KPK it can command a net strength of about 40 members, exclusive of the Fata and Independents.

The parties which are likely to lose members from the existing strength are PPP (expectedly 14), ANP (expectedly three), PML (one) and BNP while the National Party and PKMAP are likely to add to their current Senate seats.

The PTI has yet not quit the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and the resignations of its MPAs from the Punjab and Sindh assemblies have not been accepted. As such it is very much in the picture to make a debut in the Senate.

Despite certain ups and downs the PTI and JI are yet not divorced in KPK and if they forge alliance for the senate elections they can have a countable representation from this province. The combined Opposition under the PTI members can also clinch a general seat in Punjab. So is the case with the Qaumi Wattan Party (Sherpao) which is no more bedfellow of the PTI in KPK but can cash in on its eight members with help of PPP, four seats, ANP 5 seats, in that assembly to win a general seat to also start debut in the Senate.

Cutting the senate seats to half, each province will hold election for seven general seats, two technocrats/ulema and two women seats under the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote at the level of their respective provincial assembly. Two members will be elected for the federal area, one technocrat/aalim and one woman. Four senators would come from Fata.

Seat of technocrat/Aalim and women will be filled by the National Assembly in such a manner as the President may prescribe by order. Election will also be held for one seat each for the Non-Muslim in Khyber PK and Balochistan where the provincial assembly will be their electoral college.

Under Single Transferable Vote, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most-preferred candidate. After candidates have been either elected (winners) by reaching quota or eliminated (losers), surplus votes are transferred from winners to remaining candidates (hopefuls) according to the surplus ballots' ordered preferences. Working out 371 Punjab votes on this formula (number of votes/number of seats+1) a candidate will need to get 48 votes while his surplus would be transferred to the other hopeful candidate for general seat. Similarly, for Sindh it is 22 votes, KPK 16.5 and Balochistan 9 votes.

The PML-N has net strength of 189 members in the National Assembly which exceeds to 215 with the support of other parties. On the computation of votes at this level, the PML-N is sure to win both the seats which at present are being held by the PPP.

This time around majority of the senators, who are going to retire in March 2015, belongs to PPP. From the existing strength of 40, 21 will get retired; highest number eight from Sindh (five general, two technocrat and one woman) five from KPK (three general, one each technocrat and woman), three from Balochistan (two general and one woman), three from Punjab (one general, one technocrat and one woman) and two from Federal Area (one technocrat and one woman).

Among the retirees are Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Abbas Bokhari, Deputy Chairman Sabir Ali Baloch, Dr Jahangir Badar, Dr Abdul Qayyum Somroo, Syeda Sughra Hussain Imam, Farooq H Naek, Muhammad Kazim Khan and Saleem Mandiwalla. PPP has just eight members in the 371 house of the Punjab Assembly, the PPP is sure to lose all three seats to PML-N.

Similarly, this party does not have any member in Balochistan so it is going to lose all three Senate seats in this province to PML-N and its allies. Also, PPP’s four seats in the existing KPK assembly of 124 MPAs would not be able to keep its three seats from this province intact. However, in Sindh it can retain its eight seats however rubbing shoulder with PML-F led opposition on one general seat. As such, in the next Senate round of election the PPP is likely to be wiped out in three provinces and the Centre.

The ruling PML-N has total 16 senators in the existing strength of the Senate and of them eight will retire, seven from Punjab (five general one each technocrat and woman) and one from Balochistan (General). Federal Minister for Information Perviaz Rashid, Ch Muhammad Jaffar Iqbal, Prof Sajid Mir, PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, Mushahidullah Khan and Sardar Muhammad Yaqub Khan Nasir are also those going to be retired in March next.

In the House of 371 member of the Punjab Assembly, the PML-N commands thumping majority of 312. Given this situation the ruling party is expected to return to its seven Senate seats and get the additional gain of four to the loss of three to PPP and one to PML. Ch Shujaat Hussain of the PML is also going to retire on the general seat of Punjab. The PML has just eight members in the Punjab Assembly who can win back Senate seat to Ch Sahib.

Of the 12, six senators of the Awami National Party (ANP) are going to retire all from Khyber PK (three general, one each technocrat, woman and minority). Among them are Haji Muhammad Adeel, Muhammad Zahid Khan and Afrasiab Khattak.

In the KPK House of 124, ANP has a thin strength of five members as such this party is not in the picture to retrieve its Senate seats in the province where PTI leads with 46 members, followed by JUI-F (16), PML-N (14), Independents (10), JI (8), QWP (8), and AJIP (4). The role of Independents in the KPK would be very important as their tilt to PTI and JI can earn them more than six seats while at least two seats each are likely to be pocketed by JUI-F and PML-N.

Three of the total Senators of the MQM, all from Sindh (two general and one woman) will get retire. Babar Khan Ghauri is also among them. This party with the strength of 51 members in the 168 members House is expected to easily retain its strength in the Senate. In Sindh PML-F has 14 members while partner PML-N six, and NPP two whose jointly efforts may win PML-F a Senate seat to add to its already one seat.

The JUI-F has total number of six senators and three of them will get retired, two from Balochistan (one technocrat and one woman) one Khyyber PK (General). In Balochistan the party has eight members while in KPK 16. As such this party is in a good position to retain its tally.

An interesting contest is expected in Balochistan where two Independents are to retire and the equation of the parties stands markedly changed from the previous assembly with PML-N at the top with 19 members (including five Independents) in the House of 65 and the National Party with 10 members, PKMAP 14 members, and JUI-F with eight members acting as allies of N-League in that province although it is being ruled by NP’s Dr Abdul Baloch.

The votes of three independent members can also work as swing vote and if they support the N-League it can clinch at least four Senate seats of the total 12 while rest may go to their partners however with exception of one General seat to PML which has strength of six members. One Senator of the PKMAP is going to retire from Balochistan however with the existing of 14 members it appears in a position to not only retain the seat but add one more to it. National Party also stands in the same stead whose sole Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo is going to retire but this party with the strength of 10 members and support of the allies is also likely to add another seat to the existing one.

In view of the fact that PTI members in the National Assembly, Punjab and the Sindh, have tendered resignations and their acceptance or otherwise may play a role to affect the Senate polls and change the tally. Apart from it the expected political alignments before the polls and counting of single transferable vote under the proportional system, which is quite complex and complicated, with priority votes to first, second and third rate candidates can also affect the final results to change position of the sure winners.