Senate passes bill granting ECP authority to announce election dates

Senate passes bill granting ECP authority to announce election dates

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Senate on Friday approved the Election Act (Amendment) Bill 2023.

The Bill, presented in the sesssion of the upper house of the Parliament by Minister of State for Law and Justice Senator Shahadat Awan, aimed at amending the Election Act 2017.

He said that the Election Act (Amendment) Bill 2023 sought to bring about changes in the current electoral framework and processes, with the primary objective of enhancing transparency and fairness in the electoral system.

The minister informed that the Bill would now progress to the National Assembly for further review and approval before it could be enacted into law.

Shahadat said the approval of the Election Act (Amendment) Bill 2023 by the Senate represented a significant milestone in the country’s journey towards electoral reforms.

"The government and Opposition will now engage in further deliberations and discussions in the National Assembly, ensuring a thorough examination of the proposed amendments," he said, adding that the ultimate aim was to strengthen democratic practices and ensure the conduct of free and fair elections in the future.

Speakingon the floor of the House, Minister for Law and Justice, Senator Azam Tarar, emphasized the historical context of the Bill.

He highlighted that the power to determine election dates was initially vested in the Election Commission. However, following the imposition of martial law in 1977, the authority to fix election dates was granted to the President through an ordinance, he added.

The law minister said that in response to recommendations from the Election Commission, a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Amendments was formed and the presented Bill aligned with those suggestions.

Senator Tarar further underscored that the responsibility for determining election dates was lying with the Election Commission, while legislation in accordance with the Constitution was the prerogative of the Parliament.

In response to the Senate’s approval, Senator Dr Shahzad Wasim, leader of the opposition party, expressed the need for amendments to be made through constitutional means.

The Chairman Senate subsequently presented the Bill for clause-by-clause approval, which was successfully passed by the House.