ISLAMABAD - The opposition parties sans PTI finalised a name for Senate deputy speaker slot on Wednesday after daylong hectic negotiations. The consensus name for the second-top slot of the upper house of parliament was however not announced.

PPP, the leading opposition party, said that Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah would announce the name of unanimous candidate today (Thursday morning). Before the election for top Senate slots, the name of unanimous candidate for deputy chairman will be announced, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

The consensus came after exhausting sessions as every junior opposition player wanted to have its member nominated for deputy chairman after the PPP already secured promise for across the board support for Raza Rabbani for the chairman slot.

Rubina Irfan, a Senator from Balochistan, was being tipped as the strongest candidate for deputy chairman slot, especially after PML-N agreed to PPP chief Asif Zardari’s suggestion to giving this position to Balochistan, but sources said her name was dropped and the consensus was reached on some other name.

Earlier, opposition parties in a first round of talks could not reach consensus on the issue at Chaudhry Shujaat’s house.

PPP has to face much difficulty to bring these parties on same page as almost all parties, including MQM, PML-Q, ANP and JUI-F, kept insisting for giving them the prized slot. The opposition parties then reached Zardari House along with their complaints and reservations where the final consensus was reached.

In the middle of the meeting at Zardari House, Shujaat Hussain left the place for his home to consult his party colleagues and returned after an hour. Source said PML-Q chief was not ready to support member of any other party and remained adamant to take the second top slot of Upper House. They said he had earlier got the support of PPP for Rubina Irfan but other parties were not in favour of it.

ANP, sources said, sought support for its senator, Dawood Achakzai while MQM its man to be installed at the position arguing that MQM had always helped other parties in getting their members elected for senate top slots. JUI-F’s wish for making Ghafoor Haidri deputy chairman was opposed by others who said the religious party was already having two main positions in the federal cabinet, besides chairmanship of Kashmir Committee. Sources said that National Party’s Hasil Bizenjo had refused to run for the post.

Earlier talking to media Syed Khursheed Shah said that two parties from Balochistan were not present in the meeting to select the name for deputy chairman. “We are trying to take these parties... in the loop,” he said, adding that the matter would be resolved with consensus.

Meanwhile, with the start of fresh parliamentary year of the Senate from Thursday (today), an important sitting of the house will elect its chairman and deputy chairman after 47 newly elected senators will take oath of their office.

As many as 52 senators retired on Tuesday midnight after completion of their six-year term while the same number of lawmakers would replace them for another term of six years. The Senate chairman and deputy chairman would be elected for a term of three years.

Out of total 52 seats of the Senate, election on four seats of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has yet to be held as it was halted on March 5 by Election Commission of Pakistan due to a controversial presidential order changing voting pattern for Fata. Election Commission of Pakistan has not so far notified newly elected senator of PML-N, Raheela Magsi, from Islamabad. So with the start of fresh 13th parliamentary year, total 47 senators would take oath of their office and consequently take part in the election of the chairman and deputy chairman.

Since the ruling PML-N as well as its allies and the opposition parties except Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have unanimously nominated PPP candidate Mian Raza Rabbani for the slot of the Senate chairman, he will be elected unopposed. He will be seventh chairman of the Senate and fourth chairman from PPP after Habibullah Khan Khattak, Nayyer Hussain Bokhari and Farooq H Naek.

The major opposition parties in the Senate, in their brainstorming session on Wednesday, tried to find out a suitable candidate for the slot of the deputy chairman. A meeting of all parliamentary parties, held on Tuesday, had already decided that deputy chairman would be chosen from Balochistan.

Unlike his predecessor, Mian Raza Rabbani will not be a consensus Senate chairman as PTI has announced not to vote for him. However, he will be elected unopposed.

PTI will make a debut in the Senate after his six senators will take oath of their office.