General Elections Date Announcement
ECP Reveals General Elections Schedule :The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) made a significant announcement regarding the upcoming general elections, stating that they would occur in January 2024. However, the specific election date remains undisclosed. This timing extends beyond President Arif Alvi’s suggested November 6 cut-off date by over two months.
Delimitation Process Initiated
Constituency Delimitation Timeline
The ECP, in its statement, shared its plans for constituency delimitation. It disclosed that the initial list of delimited constituencies would be unveiled on September 27. Subsequently, after addressing objections and suggestions, the final list would be released on November 30. The commission clarified that the polls would be conducted in the last week of January, following a 54-day election campaign program.
Bond Markets React to Election News
The announcement of the election schedule immediately impacted Pakistan’s dollar-denominated government bonds, with most experiencing a decline. Particularly, the 2031 maturity bond saw the most significant drop of just over 1 cent. This situation raises concerns about Pakistan’s funding situation and the possible need for long-term support from the International Monetary Fund post-election.
Code of Conduct Preparation
Drafting Rules for Political Parties
The ECP also disclosed its plans for a meeting with political parties next month to discuss the code of conduct for general elections. A draft code has already been shared with political parties to gather their feedback before finalizing the rules. This draft outlines restrictions on political parties, candidates, and election agents, emphasizing their responsibility not to propagate opinions or actions detrimental to Pakistan’s ideology, sovereignty, integrity, security, morality, public order, or the judiciary and armed forces’ independence and reputation.
Conflict Over Election Timing
The ECP’s decision to schedule elections in January contradicts the constitutional requirements. Article 224 mandates elections within 90 days of the National Assembly’s premature dissolution, which would have set the deadline for November 7. However, Section 17(2) of the Elections Act demands constituency delimitation following each census, causing a timing conflict.
President’s Involvement in Election Date
President Arif Alvi had initially attempted to influence the election date by inviting Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja for a meeting to determine the date. However, an amendment to the Elections Act in 2017 granted unilateral authority to the ECP to announce election dates, sidelining the president’s role in this matter.
Clarification of Presidential Action
Suggestion vs. Declaration
Despite reports suggesting President Alvi would unilaterally announce an election date, analysts clarified that his recent letter proposing a November 6 date was merely a suggestion and not a formal declaration of the election date.
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