ECP made several new changes in Election Rules

On Saturday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) granted approval for modifications to 18 clauses in the Election Rules and introduced five new forms.The ECP has stipulated that objections to these alterations can be raised within a 15-day window.

Among the changes, one now mandates that candidates establish a dedicated bank account exclusively for election campaign expenses, prohibiting the use of joint accounts. Another alteration requires the returning officer (RO) to provide the election results to the candidate at the District Election Commission's facility.

Additionally, postal ballots will now be enclosed in separate packets before being sent to the relevant ROs. If the RO does not receive these ballots prior to the election day, the votes will not be counted. Furthermore, ROs must promptly notify the ECP if the results are not announced by 2:00 a.m. and provide reasons for any delays. The election results will be handed over in the presence of all candidates, with the RO completing forms 47, 48, and 49 for the results before sealing them.

Candidates are now responsible for calculating their electioneering expenses and providing the details to the ECP in accordance with an amended rule. Another new rule establishes a cost of Rs100,000 for filing an election-related petition with the ECP, and the ECP is obligated to render a decision within 180 days. If a candidate seeks to adjourn the petition's hearing, they may be fined between Rs10,000 and Rs50,000. Additionally, the adjournment of the case's hearing is limited to a maximum of three days, according to another amended rule.

Furthermore, political parties are now required to inform the election commission about intra-party elections 15 days before these elections, and they must submit results to the ECP within seven days following the elections.