Tuesday April 16, 2024

Preparations for Senate polls finalised by ECP

Polling for vacant seats on Parliament's upper house will begin from 9am to 4pm tomorrow

By Web Desk
April 01, 2024
A security person stands guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad. — AFP/File
A security person stands guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad. — AFP/File

As the nationwide Senate elections are scheduled to take place tomorrow (April 2), the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finalised all its preparations for polling.

The polling for vacant seats on the Parliament's upper house will begin from 9am to 4pm across the National and all four provincial assemblies.

The ECP has printed all ballot papers, which have been categorised in four different colours — white for general seats, green for technocrat seats, pink for women, and yellow for minority seats.

Meanwhile, the transportation of election materials to returning officers has also been completed. Returning officers have already issued the final list of the candidates contesting elections on 48 vacant seats of the Senate.

The polls were scheduled for 29 general seats, eight seats for women, nine seats for technocrats/Ulema, and two seats for non-Muslims.

According to the ECP, a total of 147 candidates submitted their nomination papers for these vacant seats. Out of these, 18 have been elected unopposed out of which seven are from Punjab’s general seats.

Similarly, in Balochistan, senators for seven general seats, two women seats, and two Ulema/technocrat seats have won without any opposition.

As per the schedule issued by the ECP, the contest for the remaining 30 seats will be held on Tuesday. In total, 59 candidates are vying for the vacant seats.

The elections being held on one general and one technocrat seat from the federal capital, two women seats, two technocrat/Ulema seats, and one non-Muslim seat from Punjab. Similarly, Sindh will see elections for seven general, two women, two technocrat/Ulema, and one non-Muslim seat. Additionally, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will hold elections for seven general, two women, and two technocrat seats.

The Senate elections for 11 seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could be delayed if the speaker of the KP Assembly does not administer the oath to women and minority lawmakers-elect from the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) on the reserved seats, as warned by the electoral body.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the elections aim to fill the seats left vacant by half of the current senators who retired on March 12. Out of the 52 senators who completed their six-year terms and retired, elections are being held for 48 seats.

This is because four seats were abolished following the merger of the former federally administered tribal areas (FATA) regions into the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Consequently, the Senate’s total number of seats has decreased from 100 to 96. Recently, the ECP released a detailed code of conduct for parties and candidates ahead of the Senate elections.

The code aims to guarantee transparency, integrity, and fairness throughout the electoral process. The code of conduct imposes stringent guidelines on political parties and candidates involved in the elections.

They have been urged to avoid making the electoral watchdog controversial and are prohibited from engaging in corrupt or illegal activities. Additionally, any support from public office holders to influence election outcomes is strictly forbidden.

— Additional input from APP