With just over a month to go until the expiry of President Mamnoon Hussain’s tenure, the Election Commission (ECP) of Pakistan expects the next presidential election to face delays.
President Hussain’s five-year term is set to expire on September 9. According to the Constitution, the presidential election must be held at least a month prior to the expiry of the incumbent’s term, which in this case would be August 8, an ECP source told media.
The president is elected by an electoral college comprising members of the Senate, National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. Voting is held through a secret ballot.
Ordinarily, the presidential election is held either a month after the General Election, or at least a month before the expiry of the president’s tenure.
However, since neither the National nor the provincial assemblies are functional as yet ─ and will likely not be up and running until at least August 10, holding a presidential election on August 8 will be nearly out of the question, the ECP source said.
Additionally, if the General and presidential elections fall in close proximity to each other, the Constitution requires that the presidential election be held a month after the General Election ─ which in this case would mean August 25.
Since the ECP is legally bound to issue a schedule for the presidential election at least 15 days in advance ─ Aug 10 in this case ─ the incomplete status of the electoral college means that a schedule is unlikely to be issued by this date, putting the Aug 25 date in jeopardy as well.
Therefore, the ECP source said, the commission would likely take cover of Article 254 and hold the election in early September.
Article 254 states:
Failure to comply with requirement as to time does not render an act invalid. When any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be done within a particular period and it is not done within that period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.