Give ECP an ear

ELECTIONS in our country have seen their fair share of controversy in the past, but on Wednesday even the country’s top electoral body cast doubt on government’s intentions to ensure credibility of the upcoming parliamentary polls. For the first time, the ECP criticised government directly for not showing seriousness about enacting much needed electoral reforms before the general election due to be held next year.
The concerns expressed by the ECP are very much genuine but we understand that it is not only the ruling party but other political parties as well that appear least interested in finalising electoral reforms package. It was in July 2014 that an across-the-board parliamentary committee was constituted to frame law aimed at ensuring fairness and transparency in electoral process. It is, however, lamentable that the committee, despite passage of almost two years, has failed to reach any agreement on the matter. All this implies that political parties are not interested to bring in much-needed reforms which in fact are necessary to establish the sanctity of electoral process. ECP had also written a letter to Speaker National Assembly warning that time is running out for enactment of electoral reforms if political parties want next general election to be held under new laws. In Wednesday’s meeting also, the Commission said it will be compelled to hold next elections with existing delimitations after being informed by the Statistics Division that final report of the long overdue population census will be ready by April next year. Given the current situation, which may create lot of problems for the ECP at the time of next elections, firstly, we will urge the Statistics Division to speed up its work and provide relevant census data to the ECP so that it could go ahead with the delimitation process. Responsibility then rests with the political parties to demonstrate seriousness and give top priority to finalisation of electoral reforms — the one that plug all the loopholes so that credible elections could be held. We will ask Speaker National Assembly to personally look into the matter and issue necessary instructions to parliamentary committee to complete the work without any further delay.

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