The Legislature-Parliament on Wednesday endorsed two poll-related bills, paving the way for the government to announce the dates for local elections. The Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to the Election Commission and the Bill Related to Voters’ List, which have been endorsed by the House, will come into effect once they are authenticated by the President. Out of nine Acts required to hold three levels of elections—local, provincial and central—-and conduct the elections of president and vice president, three are still under consideration at parliamentary committee. The Ministry of Home Affairs is working on four other bills. However, five Acts—two are set to come into force with their endorsement on Wednesday and three other bills that are under consideration—will be enough to hold local level elections. The government is planning to hold local level elections by mid-May and plans to announce the dates by January 28.
The three other bills—Bill on Local Election Procedural Act, Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Political Parties and Bill on Election (Offence and Punishment Act)—are currently being finalised by the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of Parliament. SAC has been asked to table these three bills in Parliament by Friday.
According to the Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to the Election Commission endorsed on Wednesday, the government in consultation with the EC can announce the dates for elections.
In the draft bill submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs four months ago, the EC had proposed that the authority to announce poll dates be given to it. However, the proposal was changed by the ministry before the bill was tabled in Parliament.