PPP’s stance for elections in 90 days to benefit PTI

ISLAMABAD   -  The polit­ical par­ties in­cluded in Pakistan Democratic Alliance [PDM] had made a new parliamentary re­cord for the first time making successful a no-confidence motion against any prime min­ister in the country’s political history.

The coalition of 11 parties, in a tough po­litical scenario, mostly remained intact as they exhibited unity for the last time in the Council of Common Interests [CCI] meet­ing when they approved the new cen­sus. The representatives of major politi­cal parties–PPP and PML-N gave consent over digital population consensus with­out raising a single objection on it.

The approval of the new population census constitutionally binds the top election regulatory authority to conduct the general elections over new delim­itation of constituencies. The electoral watchdog has pledged to finalise the de­limitation of federal and provincial con­stituencies by December 14, effectively indicating that the polls would not take place within the mandatory 90-day pe­riod following the assembly dissolution.

“The arrangements mentioned in Arti­cle 218(3) are not limited to the appoint­ment of DROs, ROs, AROs, printing of bal­lot papers but also include preparation of updated Electoral Rolls in terms of Arti­cle 219(a) and delimitation of constitu­encies,” the regulator conveyed, hinting at bit delay in the polls process.

It needs to understand that Section 17[2] of the Elections Act states, “The commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published.” In line with this requirement, the com­mission has started the process of fresh delimitation of national and provincial assembly constituencies.

Albeit the electoral watchdog under immense pressure to either not touch de­limitation of constituencies or complete it in a short time, yet the country’s top election regulator [ECP} seemingly de­termined to delimit electoral constituen­cies as per digital population census.

The political parties and envoys of main countries, in consultative process, have started suggesting expediting the process to complete it in 90 days.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI], the main opposition party in the previous re­gime, is the only political faction that in­sisted the ECP to not go for the delimi­tation of constituencies at this political juncture. This political summersault of the main political party–PPP, in the cur­rent political situation, is being seen as much ‘meaningful’.

Knowing the fact that the consent on CCI’s decision will bind the top election body to conduct the upcoming gener­al elections on digital population cen­sus, the PPP has now changed its opin­ion a little. It has started stressing the electoral watchdog to conduct the polls within 90 days, which can only be pos­sible if the ECP would not go for the de­limitation of constituencies. The shift in the stance of PPP, political observers be­lieve, will politically help PTI which is in the interest of conducting the polls as soon as possible.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s election regulator is so far defending its move to delimit electoral constituencies citing constitutional obligation about CCI’s ap­proval. The top election regulator has held separate parleys with the main po­litical parties before finally announcing the date for general elections.

The electoral watchdog, political ob­servers viewed, would face some difficul­ty in some areas of Sindh and Punjab in the delimitation of constituencies. Some districts from Upper Punjab and interi­or Sindh might go for the appeal which could delay the process.

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