Islamabad: Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was elected new Chairman of the Senate, the upper house of the parliament, here Monday.
The 100-member Senate also elected Sabir Baloch of PPP as its Deputy Chairman. Both were elected unopposed for three year term each.

Earlier‚ 54 newly elected senators took oath at a special session of the house,
as guests sitting in the lobbies chanted pro-PPP slogans.

The PPP has emerged as a majority party in the indirectly-elected senate with 41 seats, following the by-elections held earlier this month. All four provinces of the country have equal number of seats in the Senate.

Meanhwile, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is expected to unveil the PPP-led government's plans for holding the next general election during his address to a joint session of Parliament on March 17. Zardari, who is the chief of the PPP, discussed the issue of the next polls with leaders of allies of the ruling party at a recent meeting. It is expected that leaders of the parties in the ruling coalition will discuss the matter again before the Presidential address to Parliament, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said Zardari would not make any announcement about the timing of the general election without first taking his coalition partners on board. Babar did not rule out the possibility of a meeting of leaders of the parties in the PPP-led coalition in the next few days to make a decision on the issue of polls. "As the President took all coalition partners into confidence on the issue of the next Chairman of the Senate, similarly a decision about the holding of the general election will also be a unanimous one," he said.

The next general election has to be held by March-April next year though there was speculation last year that the polls could be advanced after the PPP-led government faced a string of crises. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani yesterday told reporters in Lahore that the government had been focussed on the holding elections to the Senate or upper house of Parliament and the upcoming presentation of the budget. Once this was out of the way, the PPP will consult its allies about the timing of the next general election, he said.

Though the PPP had considered the option of holding the polls in October this year, reports suggested that the party has done a re-