President Alvi signs ordinance for holding Senate polls through open ballot

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ISLAMABAD – President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday signed an ordinance, approving amendment to the Election Act, 2017 for holding the upcoming Senate polls through an open ballot.

The development comes after the federal cabinet approved a summary to amend the election act through presidential ordinance amid opposition’s protest.

The Elections (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 was issued by the president as “the Senate and the National Assembly are not in session”.

“In the said Act, in section 122, in sub-section (6), for full stop at the end. a colon shall be substituted and thereafter. the following two provisos shall be added:

“Provided that in case the Supreme Court of Pakistan gives an opinion in Reference No 1 of 2021 filed under Article 186 of the Constitution that elections for the members of Senate do not fall within the purview of Article 226 of the Constitution, the poll for elections for members of the Senate to be held in March, 2021 and thereafter shall be conducted by the Commission through open and identifiable ballot

“Provided further that after the elections for members of Senate, if the head of the political party requests the Commission to show the ballot cast by any voting member of his party, the Commission shall show the same to the head of the political party or his nominee.”

The Section 226 of the Constitution states, “All elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be by secret ballot”.

Earlier this week, the PTI government tabled the constitution amendment bill in the National Assembly for open voting in upcoming Senate elections, but it was rejected by Opposition amid noisy session.

The ruckus forced the NA deputy speaker to adjourn the NA session for indefinite time.