Raja to Alvi: elections date exclusive domain of ECP

ECP President Elections

ISLAMABAD: In a noteworthy development, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja has opted to abstain from meeting with President Arif Alfi. The CEC conveyed his decision through a written response to the President’s invitation, as disclosed by a spokesperson from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday.

In a letter, written in response to an earlier letter addressed to CEC by the President’s office, CEC Sultan has clarified that since the amendment of the Section 57 of the Elections Act, 2017 on June 26, 2023, and considering the manner of the dissolution of the National Assembly on April 3, 2023, the decision to announce the date of the general elections now exclusively resides with the ECP.

Elaborating further, the letter emphasizes that according to Article 58(1) of the Constitution – which outlines the mechanisms for the dissolution of the assembly either on the advice of the Prime Minister or due to the lapse of time – the responsibility of determining the election date lies with the ECP.

The letter further elaborates that the delimitation of constituencies is a foundational legal step towards the elections, and that ECP has decided to carry out fresh delimitation to protect the fundamental rights of the contesting candidates, political parties and electorates.

ECP is taking its responsibility of holding the General Elections very seriously and it would be futile to participate in the meeting with the president as of now, the letter said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Raja met with US ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome earlier today.

Read: Alvi invites Chief ECP for a ‘discussion’ on election dates

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