Islamabad:  Pakistan's ruling party PPP on Monday bagged the two top posts in the Senate, cementing its hold over the upper house after its recent successes in parliamentary and provincial assembly polls.

Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and Sabir Ali Baloch, the candidates of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) were unanimously elected the Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively of the Senate this afternoon.

The opposition parties did not field any candidates for the two posts.

The ruling coalition bagged a majority of the 54 Senate seats for which polls were held on March 2, and the PPP emerged the single largest party in the 104-member upper house with 41 Senators.

The election of Bukhari and Baloch to the two top posts was announced shortly after the 54 new Senators were administered oath of office.

The opposition nominated senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar for the post of Leader of Opposition in the Senate. For the first time, the Senate has four members who were elected to seats specially reserved for minority communities.

Bukhari, who became the sixth Senate Chairman, is a confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, who also heads the PPP.

Bukhari was elected to the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament in 2002 but was defeated in the 2008 election. He was elected to the Senate the following year.

Baloch, who hails from Panjgur area of Balochistan province, was elected to the Senate in 2009.

He was also elected to the Balochistan Assembly three times in the past and has served as a provincial minister.

Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman of President Zardari who is among the new members of the Senate, welcomed the opposition’s decision not to field candidates and to allow the unanimous election of the Senate Chairman.

"We welcome that. We are absolutely delighted that they made this decision to strengthen democracy. This is a very positive decision to foster unity from the first day of the new Senate," Babar told reporters outside Parliament.

Buoyed by its success in the Senate polls and recent bye-elections to the national and provincial assemblies, the PPP's top leadership has reportedly decided to hold the next general election as scheduled in early 2013.

PPP insiders said a final decision on the timing of the polls would be made during consultations with allies in the ruling coalition ahead of President Zardari's address to a joint session of Parliament on March 17.

Following a string of crises last year, including challenges from the judiciary and the military, the PPP had considered a proposal for holding early polls in October this year.