ECP sensitises political parties on reforms

AS there are speculations about early elections in the wake of JIT report on Panama Papers, which has effectively shaken the system, the Election Commission has written a letter to various political parties seeking their cooperation for early adoption of the electoral reforms so that it is able to complete necessary formalities before the elections. The letter also specifies a number of steps that the Commission is required to take before the general election.
In view of the political crisis that has gripped the country and resultant uncertainty, it is unlikely that reforms process would be completed before the next general election as emphasised by the Commission. The ECP has long been sensitising the political parties and government to do so but so far its pleas have fallen on deaf ears. The Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms has completed most of its task and only fine tuning is required, which can be done within days, if there is commitment both on part of the government as well as the opposition but it seems none of them is genuinely interested in reforming the election process. It is all the more intriguing that PTI, which launched a movement on the issue of electoral rigging, is also not serious about concluding the on-going electoral reforms process which has elements to ensure greater transparency and fairness of the elections. The political parties and their representatives have done well in incorporating very important recommendations in the draft report, which has to be considered by Parliament. Already, there are concerns that delimitation of constituencies would not be possible without final analysis and publication of National Housing and Population Census results, which is unlikely to be available within the required timeframe. But at least, the ECP can be strengthened through enhanced administrative and financial powers and arrangements for holding of elections and compilation and announcement of results can be made more transparent. It is also understood that if reforms have to be carried out then the Commission will need time for devising training programme and implementing it well in time for the staff. If political parties pay no heed to ECP call to expedite electoral reforms process then they would have no locus standi to beat about the bush of ‘rigging’ lacunae in election arrangements.

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