Pakistan Gears Up for General Elections in Late January 2024: ECP Confirms

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced that the general elections will be held in the last week of January 2024, bringing an end to the uncertainty that had been surrounding the electoral process. This announcement comes after a review of the progress on the delimitation process, which is being carried out in accordance with the new census.

The preliminary list of delimitations will be published on September 27, and after considering objections and suggestions related to the delimitations, the final list of constituencies will be published on November 30.

The ECP was required to hold elections within a 90-day period following the premature dissolution of national and provincial assemblies in August this year. However, due to the constitutional requirement to draw fresh boundaries ahead of the elections, it was not possible to hold the elections within this timeframe.

The previous government, led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had approved a new census, which mandated the ECP to carry out new delimitation before holding polls. This sparked fears of an undue delay in polls. However, with this announcement, those fears have been put to rest.

Key political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and others have urged the Election Commission to hold polls at the earliest to end prevailing uncertainty in the country. International stakeholders such as the United States and the United Kingdom have also called for free, fair and timely elections in Pakistan.

Last month, US Ambassador Donald Blome met with CEC Sikander Sultan Raja to reaffirm his country’s support for “free and fair elections”, emphasizing that it is for the Pakistani people to decide who their future leaders will be.

President Arif Alvi had suggested a cut-off date for holding polls in a letter to CEC Raja. He stated that according to Article 48(5) of the Constitution, he has the authority and mandate “to appoint a date not later than 90 days from the date of dissolution [of assemblies], for holding of a general election to the assembly.” However, the ECP maintained that after amendments in election laws, the president no longer has the power to fix the date for polls.

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