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ECP failed to publish final list of candidates

01 July, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday failed to publish the final list of candidates for the upcoming general elections in accordance with the amended schedule announced by it on June 8.

Under the revised schedule, the candidates were to be allotted election symbols and final list of candidates was to be published on June 30, but even the number of candidates left in the run was not available at the ECP’s headquarters late Thursday.

When contacted, an ECP official, however, said the law had not been violated as the returning officers had displayed final lists of candidates outside their offices and had also provided the candidates with their copies.

According to him, the returning officers send the copies of the lists to district returning officers, which are then sent to the district election commissioners who forward the same to the regional election commissioners. The RECs then send these lists for printing of ballot papers.
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Under the plan chalked out by the ECP, the printing of ballot papers is to start today (Sunday). The ECP also finds itself in a quandary a day before the start of printing of ballot papers which bear the names of candidates with the election symbols.

Under Section 206 of the Election Act, it is a mandatory requirement that at least five per cent tickets for general elections are awarded to women candidates against general seats and Section 215 of the same act clearly says that no party shall be eligible to obtain an election symbol for contesting elections for the parliament and the provincial assemblies unless it fulfils requirement of Section 206.

Section 217 (1) of the act also reads: “The Commission shall allocate a symbol to a political party if the political party complies with the provisions of this Act”.

The political parties had recently been asked by the ECP to provide it with the details of tickets issued to the women to see if the requirement has been met or not. But sources in the ECP revealed that none of the political parties chose to respond to the letter.

The ECP would be in a position to see if the requirement had been met after gathering lists of candidates from across the country and analysing the same, but by then ballot papers in large numbers would have been printed and taking away the allocated symbols from a political party would become a costly affair.

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