Pakistan's president invites top electoral authority to fix election date

Pakistan's president invites top electoral authority to fix election date

Move comes after Election Commission of Pakistan's announcement that polls cannot be held on time

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan's President Arif Alvi on Wednesday invited the country's top electoral authority for a meeting to fix a date for the next general elections.

In a letter posted on the presidential X (formerly known as Twitter) account, Alvi invited Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja for a meeting today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday) to set an "appropriate" date for the national vote.

Referring to the dissolution of the lower house or the National Assembly by him on Aug. 9 on the advice of outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Alvi said: "By virtue of Article 48(5) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the president is obliged to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution for the holding of general elections of (the National) assembly."

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

The ECP, last week, announced the schedule for the fresh 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.

The outgoing government, through an amendment in the country's Election Act, empowered the ECP to announce the dates for polls unilaterally without having to consult the president.

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