Federal cabinet approves decision to amend Election Act 2017 through a presidential ordinance
Pakistan’s federal cabinet on Friday approved a government measure to promulgate a presidential ordinance to amend the Election Act 2017, which would allow for upcoming Senate polls to be held through open ballot.
According to sources within the cabinet, the government could promulgate the ordinance within a few days. They said that this would allow the government to amend the Election Act 2017, as presidential ordinances cannot be utilized to enact any constitutional amendments.
On Thursday, the PTI-led government tabled the Constitution Amendment Bill in the National Assembly to conduct Senate polls through open vote. The opposition swiftly rejected the bill, with the session devolving into a ruckus, preventing it from being approved by the House. After failing to get approval from the National Assembly, and with the Supreme Court ruling on the issue still pending, the government has opted to introduce a presidential ordinance.
Analysts have said that the government wants to promulgate the ordinance before the schedule for the Senate polls has been announced, as the polls would be conducted in accordance with standard practice if the amendments have not been introduced by that point. The Election Commission of Pakistan has said it would likely announce the schedule on Feb. 11.