Electoral Reforms to be finalised in Parliament

Electoral Reforms to be finalised in Parliament

The Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms has completed the proposed amendments to the Election Act of 2017, and the changes are set to be presented for approval to both houses of parliament, the National Assembly and Senate, in the form of the Election Act Bill.

The drafting of the bill will be carried out and reviewed by the Ministry of Law and Justice, ensuring its legal soundness.

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Following this, it will be presented before the cabinet for approval before being tabled in the National Assembly.

The approved proposed amendments from the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms include the provision that constituencies should be based on an equal number of registered voters, maintaining a fair and balanced representation.

The proposed changes also allow complaints against constituencies to be filed within 30 days, enabling a streamlined process for addressing electoral grievances.

Transparency and Accountability

To enhance transparency and accountability, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will publish polling staff details on its website, and the polling staff will not serve in their tehsils during the elections to prevent any potential conflicts of interest.

To safeguard the secrecy of votes, cameras will be installed at the polling stations. If a candidate’s nomination is rejected or withdrawn, the fee will be refunded, providing a fair approach to financial matters for candidates.

Additionally, candidates will have the right to object to the establishment of a polling station on valid grounds, ensuring a well-organized voting process.

The proposal also addresses the voting facility for overseas Pakistanis, which will be assigned to the ECP, making it more accessible and efficient for citizens living abroad to cast their votes.

After the election results are finalized, political parties will be required to provide the final priority list within three days.

A specific time limit for presiding officers to compile the results will be implemented, and they will be held accountable for any delay in the process, ensuring timely and accurate results.

The proposed changes also permit polling agents to carry camera phones, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed at each polling station booth to assist in poll review, counting, and compilation of results.

Another proposal is to decide violations of the code of conduct within seven days instead of 15, ensuring swift and effective resolution of electoral violations. Moreover, the complete voter list will be displayed outside each polling station, making it easily accessible to the public.

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Security personnel will be stationed outside the polling stations, and in emergencies, they will be allowed to enter the polling station with the presiding officer’s permission, ensuring the safety and security of the electoral process.

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