Delimitation schedule changed to hold elections early in January: Election Commission

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that the final publication of the delimitation exercise will now be made by November 30, 2023, reducing the duration of delimitation for holding general elections as soon as possible.

Informed sources said the verdict paves the way for holding elections in the last week of January 2024, provided the Supreme Court does not intervene.

Sources say that the most suitable date for holding general elections will be January 28, in case of any practical complications, the date of elections can go up to February 4.

The decision to reduce the duration of delimitation (which was to be completed on December 14 as per the previously announced schedule) was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

Responding to a question about the possible action of the Election Commission in case the Supreme Court intervenes and directs the Election Commission to hold general elections within 90 days by leaving the new constituencies to meet the constitutional requirements, a senior ECP official said, “We will comply with it (the Supreme Court order).”

He, however, said that the ECP has not yet received a copy of the Supreme Court’s decision rejecting the review petition filed by the ECP on the decision to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Legal experts believe that the Supreme Court’s decision has laid down a rule that will have an impact on the conduct of the upcoming general elections, which should be held on November 8 under the Constitution.

In a press release, the Election Commission said that in the light of the consultation of political parties, suggestions and opinions coming from them, its duration has been reduced to complete the delimitation work as soon as possible.

It added that the election schedule will also be announced keeping in view the revised schedule of delimitation.

With the announcement of this decision, a two-day training of 26 members of the delimitation committees at the Pakistan Electoral Academy for Democratic Practices, Research and Management located in the Election Commission Secretariat was started yesterday.

According to the Election Commission, during the training, the participants will learn the legal framework required for the international standards and principles of delimitation.