LG Elections: FAFEN solicits public support for protection of electoral rights

ISLAMABAD, November 12, 2013: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has launched a campaign to solicit public support for federal framework legislation for the protection of electoral rights of voters and candidates in the provincial laws on the local government, says a press release issued on Tuesday.

The campaign is aimed to encourage citizens, civil society groups and media to support the framework legislation with a focus on the need for uniformity on basic electoral principles to be incorporated by provinces in their respective local government laws. FAFEN says local government elections are central to deepening democracy and their quality is as important as it is in the general elections.

In the first phase, FAFEN will mobilize and encourage citizens to send letters to ECP, political parties and their parliamentary leaders of all parties in parliament and provincial assemblies endorsing the FAFEN-proposed federal legislation. In addition to country-wise engagements with media and citizens, FAFEN will also utilize social media and its website (www.fafen.org) to enable citizens and candidates to raise demands for quality of local government elections and protection of their electoral rights.

Last week, FAFEN proposed to hold local government elections in phases to ease administrative burden on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and ensure quality of the process. It says the ECP should be authorized by federal framework legislation to conduct local government elections under the enacted legislation by provinces that should also provide basic guidelines to provincial assemblies on constitutionally protected electoral rights of voters and candidates.

FAFEN says Constitution under Article 140-A (2) holds the ECP responsible for Local Government Election while ECP being a federal body, according to Constitution’s Article 222, acts on laws provided by the Parliament. “In the absence of a clear legal guidance, the ECP is being required to function under laws devised by the provinces. Constitutionally, however, any ECP action may be subject to future legal challenges,” it concludes.