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Old Tuesday, August 15, 2017
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Smile Snail's Pace

My commentary published in 'The News' July 13, 2017

Snailís pace

The 2018 elections are expected to hit in July or August. The question of concern for many is whether the next elections are to be conducted by a stronger Election Commission with more assertiveness of its writ for controlling rigging. In 2014, a special parliamentary committee was constituted and tasked with making recommendations to introduce concrete legislative electoral reforms to further strengthen the ECP. The committee was required to complete its job by October 23, 2014 however the task is unfortunately still pending unaccomplished.

Feeling concerned of undue criticism, the ECP has written to the National Assembly speaker to finalise bill and enact the Election Act 2017 as early as possible so the ECP could start and complete its work on time according to the new law and prepare a comprehensive action plan specifying all legal and administrative measures that are required to be taken before the general elections. The ECP has made all efforts to assist the parliamentary committee by providing draft legislative proposals, comparative statements of the existing and proposed legislation, modalities for introduction of electoral technology and international best practices in respect of unified election laws. Now the ball is in the National Assemblyís court to decide if it wants to hold next elections under the new law or is ready to withstand the probable public criticism.

Zaheer Sahito
District Election Commissioner
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