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Fed government announces 49 amendments in Elections Act 2017, seeking opposition support

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ISLAMABAD, May 3): Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan has said that the federal government intends to bring 49 amendments in the Election Act 2017 to bring reforms in the electoral process in the country.
Flanked by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a presser, Babar Awan said there was nothing in the amendments that was in favor of or against any political party.

Highlighting the changes in the Election Act 2017, he said that he would amend Section 103 to introduce the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), following the change in Section 94 to Pakistanis abroad. Voting rights will be granted and compilation of electoral rolls will be introduced. Based on NADRA records, and delimitation according to registered voters in the constituency.

He said that two reforms for democracy would be introduced within the political parties. “A new section 213 will be introduced, which will make it mandatory for a political party to hold an annual convention,” he said.

He said that under these reforms, the appointment of polling staff in the electoral process could be challenged for 15 days. Babar Awan said, “We are also bringing amendments for holding the Senate elections through open referendum.

Earlier in the day, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry reiterated the government’s offer to sit down with the opposition parties for electoral reforms and said that those opposed to electronic voting machines (EVMs) Never saw his work.

The Information Minister said that he wanted to bring EVM so that the results would not be delayed for 12 hours or more. “We want the results to be received 20 minutes after the election process,” he said.

Fawad Chaudhry said that even the Prime Minister himself has asked the opposition to sit down for electoral reforms but after objecting why they were not called for direct talks by Imran Khan.

“Come and sit down for electoral reform,” he said, adding that he had invited them for reform and it would now be clear who was against it. “The lack of electoral reforms will stall the process of political and democratic development in the country,” he said.

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