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April 22, 2018

Election likely to be held on July 26, 28 or 29

Top Story

April 22, 2018

ISLAMABAD: For the upcoming 2018 general elections, 26th, 28th and 29th July are the three most likely options for the polls day.

Under the law, the election date will be announced by the President after consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Although the Constitution as well as the Election Act 2017 do not mention any role of the Prime Minister in deciding the date of the elections, incumbent Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is quoted by a credible source discussing last Sunday of July (July 29) as the election day.

The Election Commission sources are of the view that the Commission will move the summary on the issue and the President will decide the election date. These sources said any political party or even the prime minister can propose the election date. However, it is the Commission which is empowered to propose the date for the polls. According an ECP source, in case the Parliament completes its term the most likely date for the elections would be July 28 for being a Saturday.

The source said July 26 and July 29 will also be considered, however, July 27 is unlikely because of Friday. The present National Assembly and the government will complete their term on June 1, 2018. If the assemblies are not dissolved earlier, the next elections will be held within 60 days of the completion of the term i.e. by August 1, 2018.

The prime minister has repeatedly said the government will complete its tenure and will continue till June 1, 2018. The ECP sources said upon the completion of the assembly’s term, the Commission will suggest holding elections anywhere in the last week of July 2018. After the finalisation of the candidates list, the Commission would require 21 days for the printing of the ballot papers by the Printing Corporation of Pakistan.

A few months back, the prime minister in a public meeting announced that the elections will be held on July 15. On that occasion, a senior Election Commission source had told The News, “If the maximum 60 days period is squeezed to 45 days (to hold election on July 15), it will create problems for the Commission.” The ECP official was of the view that during the last general elections because of time constraints the ECP had to go beyond the Printing Corporation of Pakistan which was made into an issue by the PTI. The ECP is considering 55-56 days schedule for the upcoming elections. Those political parties desirous of reducing the election schedule to minimum possible time, do it to save the candidates and the political parties from extra spending on their election campaign, said a commentator.