On Monday Ayaz Sadiq was elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly once more – becoming the first person in history to have held the post twice. He secured a hefty 268 votes compared to the 31 received by Pakistan Teheek-e-Insaaf (PTI) candidate, Shafqat Mehmood.

As Ayaz Sadiq climbed the raised dais to take his position at the head of the assembly it was clear that the ‘rigging’ saga was coming to a close, with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) emerging as the obvious victors. Yet this seemingly redundant episode has had some positive effects, despite what PML-N politicians would have us believe. Furthermore, the ruling party hasn’t come out completely unscathed either.

The end result – Ayaz Sadiq as Speaker - may be the same but this exercise in accountability will only strengthen the democratic institutions.

The election tribunals gave a verdict against a sitting Speaker of the National Assembly, organized a by-election without major hiccups, and the victor went through a parliamentary poll to become the Speaker again. All actions carried out in relative stability, and according to the constitutional norms. Such episodes need to become normal in Pakistani politics, so that radical changes in the government institutions are treated as what they truly are – normal procedural actions instead of being view as instability. Only by practice and convention can the institutions get stronger, and this episode will help in achieving that goal.

While it certainly will not feel like a victory, the PTI needs to view this episode with positivity too. It forced accountability on a notoriously unaccountable party, and that it did not have to resort to street power to achieve what it wanted. It managed to justify its ‘dharna’ to some extent by winning to key verdicts and in the resulting by-elections it challenged the ruling party strongly. Now it must focus on the way forward.

That being said, for the PML-N, the diplomatic and reasonable step would have been to not to nominate someone for the post of speaker who has just been de-seated by an election tribunal for ‘widespread irregularities’, notwithstanding the fact that he was re-elected. Another choice from within the party would have probably succeeded in being elected and would surely have been much less controversial. Yet the PML-N is rarely known for subtlety, and re-electing a de-seated Speaker is its idea of a great symbolic victory. It is a statement of power, but it will win the party no friends.