ECP opposes Senate polls through open ballot

Constitution does not allow open ballot elections for Senate, says ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday opposed the presidential reference seeking an opinion of the Supreme Court (SC) about holding Senate elections through open ballot.

In its reply submitted to the SC, the ECP rejected the possibility of holding Senate polls through open ballot and said that the elections would be held as per the Constitution.

Senate polls are defined in Articles 59, 219 and 224 of the Constitution. Furthermore, as per Article 226, all elections under the Constitution, other than those of prime minister and chief minister, shall be held by secret ballot, the ECP said in its reply. “The Constitution does not allow open ballot elections for the Senate.”

The ECP in its reply also gave reference to the Indian constitution.

The federal government had moved to the SC to seek its opinion over holding Senate elections through open ballot. A five-member bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi, is currently hearing the reference.

Earlier on January 14, continuing his arguments before the apex court over the reference, Attorney General Khalid Javed had said, “In this matter, an amendment in the Constitution is not required. It needs interpretation of the Constitution and the SC can interpret the Constitution. The reference is based on this question that the SC should interpret Article 226 of the Constitution as it has mandated the court to interpret.”

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