QUETTA Jan 13 (TNS): The Balochistan Assembly on Saturday elected Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo the new chief minister of the province, days after former chief minister Sanaullah Zehri stepped down ahead of a no-confidence motion against him.
Speaker Raheela Hameed Durrani made the official announcement.
The election took place amid beefed up security in and around the assembly building.
The contest was held between Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid candidate Bizenjo, who secured 41 out of the total 51 votes casted, and Pashtunkhuwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) member Agha Syed Liaqat Ali, who bagged 13 votes.
Bizenjo is the third chief minister of the province in four-and-a-half years.
Another PkMap candidate member Abdul Rahim Ziyaratwal, who had also filed his nominations, had withdrawn from the race.
Following the in-house election, the new leader of the house will take oath of his office at 5 pm.
Bizenjo, besides his party, had the complete support of disgruntled members of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl).
Bizenjo was born in Awaran on January 1, 1974, and contested elections for the first time in 2002. He was elected from the PB-41 constituency.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid candidate remained Deputy Speaker from 2013-15.
Bizenjo was elected as MPA from Awaran after receiving only 544 votes from the constituency.
Only 1.18 percent was polled in his constituency.
He was elected receiving least number of votes in the electoral history of Pakistan.
National Party had not nominated any candidate neither announced support for any.
On Wednesday, a group of opposition parties in the Balochistan Assembly announced they would not field a candidate for the leader of the House.
JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Wasay, leader of the opposition in the provincial assembly, said the opposition would not join the new provincial government.
Balochistan National Party-Mengal chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal said they would continue to play their role for democratic forces.
A no-confidence motion was submitted against Zehri on January 2 by MPAs Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Syed Agha Raza and had the signatures of 14 lawmakers.
In order to retain his position as chief minister, Zehri required the support of 33 members from a house of 65.
A political crisis developed in Balochistan following the no-confidence motion, with efforts stepped up by the PML-N, which has a government both in the centre and province, to defuse the situation. Zehri was forced to resign after some members of his own party, the PML-N, joined the opposition in its demand to remove him from office.
The crisis heightened with the resignations of several cabinet members and advisers to chief minister Zehri.
Zehri had also been advised by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to step down as chief minister in order to defuse the political crisis.