Govt announces 49 amendments in Elections Act 2017

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan announced that the federal government plans to bring 49 amendments to the Election Act 2017 in a bid to reform the electoral process in the country.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Monday along with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Babar Awan said that there was nothing in the amendments that were in favour or against any political party.

Regarding the changes in the Election Act 2017, he said they would amend section 103 to introduce the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), overseas Pakistanis would get voting rights after changes in section 94 besides also introducing compilation of electoral rolls based on NADRA record and delimitations as per the registered voters in a constituency.

He said that two reforms for democracy within the political parties would be introduced. “A new section 213 will be introduced, making it compulsory for a political party to hold an annual convention,” he said.

Awan added that under the reforms, the appointment of polling staff could be challenged 15 days within the electoral process. “We are also bringing amendments to hold Senate elections through the open ballot,” Babar Awan said.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry once again reiterated the government’s offer to the position parties to sit for electoral reforms saying that those opposing electronic voting machines (EVMs) have never witnessed their working.

The information minister said that they wanted to bring EVMs so that the results are not delayed for 12 or more hours. “We want the results to be received 20 minutes after the election process,” he said.

Fawad Chaudhry said that even the prime minister himself has asked the opposition to sit for electoral reforms after the latter objected as to why they were not invited for the talks directly by Imran Khan.

“Lack of electoral reforms would halt the process of political and democratic progress in the country,” he said.

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