Pakistan's polls body defies president's call for election date

Pakistan's polls body defies president's call for election date

Election Commission of Pakistan says fixing polls date is its jurisdiction

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan's top electoral body on Thursday defied the president's call for an election date, insisting that it is the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) jurisdiction to fix the date for the national vote.

In a letter to President Arif Alvi, the ECP cited a recent amendment in the country's Election Act by the outgoing government, empowering the commission to decide the election date.

The move came a day after the president invited Chief Election Commissioner Raja Sikandar Sultan for a meeting to fix the date for the general elections, which according to the constitution must be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the lower house, or the National Assembly.

Alvi's move came on the heels of the ECP's announcement that the general elections would not be held before March next year.

According to the ECP, after the amendment, it "solely" rests with the electoral body to announce the date for general elections and the commission is no longer bound to consult with the president.

The ECP further said that fresh delimitations after approval of the new census results are a "constitutional requirement."

The ECP, last week, announced the schedule for the delimitation of constituencies in accordance with the new census results, which will be completed on Dec. 14.

After the completion of the exercise, the electoral body will require another 90 days to hold the general elections, meaning polls cannot be held before March next year.

The national vote was otherwise scheduled for November this year following the dissolution of the government on Aug. 9.

Earlier in the day, the ECP members met in the capital Islamabad, and decided that the chief election commissioner would not meet the president, an ECP source told Anadolu.

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