The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rolled out several key recommendations to alter election rules, focusing on financial transparency, candidacy details, and the compilation of results.
The newly proposed amendments mandate political parties to disclose details of individuals contributing one million rupees or more towards election expenditures. The ECP aims to introduce a new form, Form 69, dedicated to financing political parties. The commission announced the addition of two other forms, Form 67 and Form 68, to detail election expenses.
Candidates must now disclose information on their immovable assets within Pakistan and overseas. This extends to acquired assets, vehicles, jewellery, and cash or bank holdings. In tandem with these details, candidate campaign financing and election expenses will be made available to returning officers and presented on official platforms.
Enhancing Accountability and Transparency
The ECP underscored its intent to amend several rules further, citing evolving scenarios and challenges as the driving force. Through these changes, the ECP targets 18 specific clauses in the Election Rules, supplemented by introducing five new forms. The commission has granted until October 7 for political entities or candidates to voice concerns over these changes.
A notable adjustment revolves around result timings. If results are incomplete by 2:00 a.m. following the polling day, the returning officer must provide the ECP with provisional outcomes, justifying any delay and indicating pending results. The full provisional findings should be delivered by 10:00 a.m.
Streamlining Processes and Fines
Further modifications pertain to postal ballots. These votes are to be sent to respective returning officers in distinct packets. Late-arriving postal votes will be excluded from the final count.
Candidates will be responsible for supplying a comprehensive breakdown of election expenditures and campaign financing. Petitions related to the election come with a Rs100,000 fee. The ECP commits to settling such cases within 180 days. Requesting adjournments during hearings will incur fines ranging from Rs10,000 to Rs50,000.
Political parties must notify the ECP 15 days before intra-party elections and furnish details within a week post-election. Moreover, the nomination fee of Rs100,000 is now non-refundable, with the amount being directed to the government’s treasury.
Financial records, including the financier’s identity, expense types, and income sources, must be detailed if external financing is permitted for a candidate’s campaign. The commission will corroborate the total recorded expenses to ensure they remain within the permissible range.
The amendments also indicate that any penalties slapped on political parties will funnel into the government treasury. Lastly, rejected votes will be reviewed in the candidate’s presence, with the returning officer consolidating and sealing the results on Forms 47, 48, and 49.