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Saturday, April 20, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Parliament amends Election Act granting additional powers to caretaker govt

Some of the amendments to section 230 withdrawn; interim govt not to enter new agreements
File photo.
File photo.

The joint session of the Parliament on Wednesday passed an amendment to Election Act 2017 granting additional power to the caretaker government.

The joint session approved the amendments with majority vote after the PML-N successfully persuaded its allies in the government regarding the changes made to Section 230 of the act.

The amended laws allows the caretake government to open negotiation on existing financial arrangements but it cannot enter into new bilateral or multilateral agreements.

The bill effectively enables the caretaker government to discuss the next review with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the release of second loan tranche under the $3 billion standby arrangement.

Other changes in the election law have introduced a cap on the electioneering spending. Candidate for National Assembly will spend up to Rs10 million and for provincial assemblies up to Rs50 million.

Presiding officers will be required to submit results by 2am of the election night or explain the delay.

Any elected member of national or provincial assembly who does not take oath withing 60 days of election will lose their seat.

The passing of the bill was also announced by the twitter account of the National Assembly.

“The Parliament in its Joint Session passed the “The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2023,” it said.

Earlier, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar presented the Elections Amendment Bill in the joint session of parliament with one key change incorporated at the last minute.

He said that the chairman of the Election Reforms Committee had held consultations again and decided not to press ahead with changes to Section 230.

The changes to section 230 had proposed widening the scope of the caretaker government’s powers to take care of ‘urgent matters’ in addition to the day-to-day matters of governance it is normally entrusted with.

However, Tarar said that the committee had found the some of the proposed changes to article 230 to be unnecessary. He added that the tabled bill only included amendments that had 100% consensus of everyone involved.

The changes to section 230 were ostensibly aimed at giving the caretaker government power over economic matters as well as over appointments and transfers. Although, these matters are normally considered beyond the scope of a caretaker setup, the government had said that they were needed especially due to the current economic situation.

The bill was introduced days after reports that Ishaq Dar’s name was in leading consideration for the position of caretaker prime minister.

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