ACCORDING to media reports, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is working on a proposal to suggest a constitutional amendment to bar a candidate from contesting more than two seats as this provision results in holding elections again and again that only burdens public exchequer but also causes unnecessary stress to the voters.
The Commission is reportedly studying the best practices elsewhere in the world to determine a limit on a candidate for contesting elections.
Under Article 223(2) of the Constitution, nothing “shall prevent a person from being a candidate for two or more seats at the same time” and taking advantage of this provision, candidates have long been contesting elections against more than one seat.
In the past, this constitutional permission was, more or less, fairly used to ensure that popular leaders do make it to the elected houses but the latest decision of the PTI leader to field himself as the party candidate against all the seven constituencies of the National Assembly that were vacated by those elected earlier on the party ticket has initiated a national debate about misuse of the clause and its negative impact on the electoral process and parliament besides wastage of time, energy and national resources.
At the instance of the Election Commission, India banned candidates from contesting elections against more than two seats and now a debate is going on why it should not be restricted to just one seat to save the tax-payers’ money.
The incumbent parliament is enacting laws to reform the electoral system and we hope this aspect would also be taken care of on a priority basis.
This is because an election in just one constituency costs about Rs 76 million and the expenditure is likely to increase significantly with the passage of time.
Similarly, major contenders also spend millions of rupees but their investment goes to the drain in case of repeat elections.
The ECP proposal has the backing of the entire nation and, therefore, all parties should support it when it is formally presented as a constitutional amendment in Parliament.