ISLAMABAD (Today News) – Despite resistance from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the joint session of Parliament on Wednesday passed the Election Act Amendment Bill 2023, which intends to strengthen the caretaker prime minister.

The modification to Clause 2A of Section 230 of the Election Act, which PPP leader Raza Rabbani also rejected, empowered the caretaker prime minister.

The caretaker prime minister’s financial powers will be expanded following the approval of the Election Act Bill. The caretaker administration will be authorized to make economic decisions for the country, as well as to engage into agreements with international organizations and foreign countries.

Furthermore, the combined session adopted an amendment allowing candidates to name three polling agents. At a single polling station, each candidate will be permitted to designate three polling agents, with only one remaining inside the polling station. The presiding officer is now required to post the voter list outside the polling place.

The ECP will be required to disclose information on postal ballots issued prior to the elections on its website. A recount will be held if the difference in votes between the losing and winning candidates is more than 5%. The returning officer will conduct the recount in the presence of the candidates.
Following the passing of the Election Act, the presiding officer will be required to provide a copy of the results to the Election Commission and the returning officer as soon as possible. A snapshot of the final outcome will also be taken and submitted to the returning officer and the electoral commission. In the absence of an internet connection, the presiding officer will be asked to personally bring the real findings and give them by 2 a.m. Delays must be explained with specifics.

The electoral Act Bill also requires Nadra to supply the electoral commission with a record of new identity cards. The electoral commission will consider complaints one day before voting. If the oath is not taken, the seat will be regarded vacant.

In addition to academic credentials, the Senate technocrat seat now requires 20 years of relevant experience.

Furthermore, the polling place shall not be modified five days before the election. Candidates will be permitted to utilize an existing bank account for election costs. Constituencies will be established on the basis of an equal number of registered voters.
Constituencies will be declared four months before the election date, with the same number of registered voters in each. Delimitation complaints must be filed within 30 days.

According to the Election Act Bill, if the nomination is rejected or withdrawn, the fee will be refunded to the candidate, and the candidate will be able to object to the establishment of the polling station on valid grounds. Political parties must provide the final priority list of specific seats within three days of the final results.
Furthermore, the presiding officer will be required to offer voting facilities to the disabled, the election tribunal will rule on the candidate’s petition within 180 days, and the judgment on a breach of the code of conduct should be made within 7 days rather than 15 days. For carelessness, the presiding and returning officers will face criminal charges. If intra-party elections are not held, the political party would be fined Rs2 lacs.