ECP waiting for government signal to announce presidential election
By Irfan Ghauri
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which has been officially notified about General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s resignation as the president, is waiting for a go-ahead signal from the coalition government to announce the schedule for electing the new president, sources said.
Under Article 41(5) of the constitution, the election to fill a vacancy in the office of president is to be held within 30 days of the office becoming vacant.
An official of the ECP told Daily Times that the chief election commissioner (CEC) would announce the schedule for the presidential election in a few days. However, he said, the commission could announce the schedule any time if the ruling coalition succeeded in announcing its candidate for the country’s top slot.
According to the Second Schedule of the constitution and Presidential Election Rules, 1988, the parliament – comprising of the National Assembly and Senate – and the four provincial assemblies (PAs) form the electoral college of the president. The 442 members of parliament have one vote each while the Balochistan Assembly’s total strength of 65 is considered as baseline for the other three PAs.
Under this formula, the number of votes cast in a PA in favour of each candidate would be multiplied by 65 and divided by the total number of seats in the PA in which the votes were cast.
The CEC conducts the election, acting as the returning officer.
The CEC appoints presiding officers to preside over the meeting of parliament and the meetings of the PAs. The ECP joint secretaries act as presiding officers in parliament, while the provincial election commission chiefs act as presiding officers in the PAs.
If only one candidate files valid nominations in the stipulated time or all other candidates withdraw their nominations within the timeframe given by the commission, the consensus candidate is declared successful without balloting. Similarly, an uncontested election of the president is also possible if other candidates retire three days before the election date.