Federal cabinet approves decision after ruckus in NA
The government has decided to pass an ordinance to ensure that the upcoming Senate elections are held through an open ballot.
It is being reported that the decision was approved by the Federal Cabinet.
“I am fulfilling my promise to make sure that Senate voting is open,” Prime Minister Imran Khan remarked during the meeting.
The ordinance is expected to be passed before the schedule for the Senate elections is released. The Election Commission is expected to issue it on February 11.
The step has been taken after the opposition parties blocked the government’s move to pass a law on changing the voting process.
Article 89 of the Constitution gives the country’s president to “promulgate an ordinance” when the Senate or National Assembly is not in session. The law states that it can only be passed it becomes necessary to take “immediate action”.
The ordinances are enforced for a period of 120 days and can later be extended by the National Assembly.
Senate elections are held every three years and only the commission has the authority to organise them. The process is, however, spread over phases and takes roughly a month to conclude.
Previously, the votes were cast in secret because of which the PTI claimed that the votes of senators were being bought. In December 2020, the federal government decided to hold the Senate election through a show of hands. The opposition members criticised this decision.
The commission said half the Senate members will retire on March 11, 2021 after completing their term. It pointed out that under Article 224(3) of the Constitution, the elections “shall be held not earlier than 30 days immediately preceding the day on which the vacancies are due to occur”.