New Delhi: It was again a case of egg on its face for Pakistan at the global stage. India's 'western neighbour' often taking international opinion and rational views for granted faced a major embarrassment as it lost the elections for the post of President of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Pakistani Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani lost to Portuguese Member of Parliament Duarte Pacheco, who was elected as the President of the IPU for a 3 year term.There were two other candidates from Uzbekistan (Akmal Saidov, First Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber) and Canada (Salma Ataullahjan, Senator).
A total of 394 votes were cast in the election and the candidate from Portugal won with a commanding lead of 222 votes, more than the absolute majority of 198 votes.
The election of the new president of the IPU for the period 2020-23 was done through a remote electronic secret ballot.
Pakistan's nominee could poll only 52 votes as against 222 by Portugal's lawmaker and finished fourth on the table of four competitors. Pakistan faced the ignominy despite strong lobbying for months.
It has traditionally been ensured that there is regular rotation between geopolitical groups while electing a President.
Over the past twenty years, the Presidency of the IPU has been held by MPs from Egypt (Arab Group. 1994-1997), Spain (Twelve Plus Group, 1997-1999), India (Asia –Pacific Group, 1999-2002), Chile (Group of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2002-2005), Morocco (Arab Group, 2011-2014), Bangladesh (Asia-Pacific Group, 2014-17) and Mexico (2017-2020). The outgoing President is a Mexican MP Gabri.
Senior Indian parliamentarian and incumbent Governor of Manipur, Dr Najma Heptulla held the high office between 1999 and 2002. Incidentally, she has also been the first woman president of the IPU.
The first non-European to hold the post was the Brazilian politician Ranieri Mazzilli, who served from 1962–67.
The longest-serving president in IPU history was the former Belgian Prime Minister Henri Carton de Wiart, whose 13-year term encompassed the whole of the World War II years. Two Britons—Lord Weardale and Viscount Stansgate—also served for 10 years
The IPU President is the political head of the organization that was founded in 1889, often described as an era when there were no established means for governments, parliaments or MPs to work together at the international stage.
Sources said, the Pakistani Senate Chairman had widely canvassed for his candidature and had even travelled overseas to campaign. His attempts to reach out or contact the other three candidates also did not evoke a positive response.
Each country has three votes in the Presidency collegium provided one delegate is a woman. From Indian Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and two lawmakers Poonamben Maadam (also LS) and Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta cast their votes through a secure online voting mechanism.
The 206th session of the Governing Council of the IPU is being held virtually from 1 to 4 November 2020 to elect the IPU President and discuss matters related to the functioning of the organisation including the adoption of the budget.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla congratulated Mr. Pacheco for his election as President of IPU. In a message to him, Mr Birla said “Your success in the election is a success of your vision of strengthening parliamentary diplomacy.”