FAFEN urges public sharing of NA Committee’s electoral reform proposals

ISLAMABAD: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has called upon the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs to publicly share the draft of its recommendations on electoral reforms before its submission to the Parliament.

The Committee has been discussing the Electoral Reforms Proposals, submitted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to the Prime Minister on March 11, 2009, and has conducted two rounds of meetings with the ECP and civil society organizations seeking their recommendations on the subject.

FAFEN acknowledges the importance of the Committee’s initiative of holding consultations with stakeholders, calling it a unique democratic precedence in Pakistan’s parliamentary history. Such spirit of consultations should be sustained as the Committee finalizes its recommendations for consideration by the Parliament.  Meaningful consultation requires the Committee to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on the Committee’s report on electoral reforms before its submission to the Parliament.

During a recent meeting with the Committee, FAFEN outlined its priorities for legal electoral reform.  It will provide the Committee with a detailed discussion paper, refining those priorities and offering specific legal text that would facilitate their implementation.  Two overarching areas for reform are established within Priorities for Reform to Laws Governing the Conduct of Elections in Pakistan:

  •  Strengthening Electoral Stakeholders:  FAFEN outlines specific priorities for strengthening the current institutional arrangement for principal electoral stakeholders in Pakistan—the Election Commission, political parties, and election observers—while establishing three themes for change within election law, including: Fortifying the independence of the Election Commission of Pakistan; Increasing transparency and accountability among political parties and candidates, and; Regularizing access to electoral processes for election observers.
  •  Improving Electoral Processes:  FAFEN also provides specific priorities for improving the country’s electoral processes in the context of polling stations; the electoral rolls; and election results, within four themes for change, including: Reforming rules for representation; Enhancing the quality of and access to electoral rolls; Revising the process for establishing polling sites, and; Ensuring polling station-wise results are publicly available.

 About FAFEN: FAFEN is a network of 30 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan. It is governed by Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability.