Elections on May 11; President Zardari signs summary
21 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday announced that general election for the National Assembly will be held on May 11, in the first democratic transition of power in the country's history.
The announcement comes at a time when the government and the opposition are deadlocked on the issue of the appointment of caretaker prime minister. A parliamentary committee has until Friday to choose from a list of candidates to head the interim set-up.
"The president has announced that general election will be held on May 11," presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar told our sources.
The spokesperson said that the president announced the date shortly after he received a summary from the prime minister on Wednesday.
The prime minister had advised the president to announce a date for holding general election for the Lower House in terms of Article 48 (1) of the constitution.
Section 11 (1) of the Representation of the People Act 1976 reads: "As soon as may be necessary and practicable, the president makes an announcement of the date or dates on which the polls shall be taken, the Election Commission, not later than thirty days of such announcement shall, by notification in the official gazette, call upon a constituency to elect a representative or representatives".
The National Assembly was dissolved on completion of its five-year constitutional term on March 16.
Separate elections will be held for provincial assemblies as Punjab on Wednesday became the last to dissolve its assembly.
An Election Commission official told our sources that nomination papers will be received from the candidates till March 30 and their scrutiny will begin from March 31.
He said that the scrutiny of nomination papers will continue for seven days until April 6. Appeals against any objections raised against the nomination papers could be filed from April 7. The candidates could withdraw their nominations by April 18, while the final list of the candidates will be issued on April 19, he said. Candidates will get 21 days for the election campaign, he added.
According to the guidelines issued by the ECP, candidates will provide attested copies of their Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), educational certificates and national tax number (NTN) along with the nomination papers. A candidate can file five nomination papers along with the proposer and the seconder. However, it is mandatory that both proposer and the seconder are enrolled as voters in the constituency of the respective candidate.
Candidates contesting for the National Assembly will pay an election fee of Rs 4,000 while Rs 2,000 has been fixed for the candidates vying for the provincial assembly seats.
The election expenditure limit has been fixed at Rs 15,00,000 for the candidate of National Assembly and Rs 10,00,000 for the candidate of provincial assembly. The candidate will have to provide details of election expenses 10 days after winning the election.
The ECP plans to set up around 8,00,000 polling stations across country for the upcoming general election, against 65,000 established during the last elections. Polling stations will be set up every two kilometres.
The ECP has already allotted election symbols to 144 political parties. However, allotment of symbol to ruling PPPP is pending owing to a petition filed by Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi for registration of the PPP as a political party and allotment of 'arrow' as election symbol to it. The ECP will decide on the matter on March 25.
Sixty seats in the National Assembly are reserved for women and 10 for minorities. For the first time, political parties can contest elections in the tribal areas. However, no seats are reserved for women there.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi also signed the summary for holding general election in Balochistan on May 11. A notification issued on Wednesday read that elections in Balochistan will be held on the same date along with other provinces.
In a second notification, Balochistan government banned all appointments and transfers in the province till completion of general election. According to the notification, only provincial chief minister is authorised to order any important transfer with approval of the provincial election commission.