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Zibago

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Cabinet approves abolition of secret balloting in Senate election
News Desk
News Desk
5 hours ago
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Federal cabinet has accorded approval to do away with the practice of secret balloting during the Senate elections. According to media reports the proposal for holding elections through a show of hand was also rejected.
Transferable open vote

The cast vote will contain information about both the voter and the candidate to whom vote has been cast. According to the amended draft, which will be presented before the parliament in a few days, the Senate elections will be conducted by single transferable open vote.
The decision has been taken to stop the practice of selling votes and to bring greater transparency to the electoral exercise for the upper house. This decision was a part of a larger set of electoral reforms that were placed before the federal cabinet recently.

In a press conference, federal ministers Shafqat Mehmood and Azam Swati said efforts would be made to have a broad-based consensus on these electoral reforms so that constitutional changes could be made accordingly. The two ministers were part of a parliamentary committee formed to look into allegations of rigging in the 2018 elections.
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Earlier discourse on disallowing secret balloting in Senate
The Committee of the Whole Senate had five years back made several recommendations after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had tweeted on February 2, 2015 “Secret balloting for Senate elections is an insult to Parliament and undermines party-based democracy.”
He had also repeatedly called for direct election to the Senate and reiterated in March 2018 that senators, who give money to be elected, will only do corruption and that senators are directly elected in the America.
No-confidence resolution against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani
The discourse initiated after a humiliating defeat of the no-confidence resolution against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. The opposition parties started talking about amending the rules to do away with the curse of horse-trading during secret balloting.
During the deliberations of the Senate committee a year ago, it noted in its expansive report, almost every member stressed the need to curb the element of financial corruption, rigging and floor crossing in the Upper House of Parliament elections. Some MPs had proposed that polls be held by way of an open ballot as opposed to the secret election.
The committee had come out with remarkable recommendations. It proposed that the existing election system needs reformation in order to make it transparent. The names of federal and provincial legislators, voting in the Senate election, must be printed on the ballot papers.
Read More: Senate report finds Trump 2016 campaign manager embroiled with Russian spy agencies
Electoral reforms
The forum recommended that Article 63A may be amended to provide that voting or abstaining from voting contrary to any direction issue by the parliamentary party to which he belongs, in relations to Senate elections, must be made a ground of defection.
Article 62 will be amended to provide that a person must not be qualified to be member Senate unless he is a resident, for five years, of the province, or as the case may be, the federal capital from where he seeks membership.
Pursuant to the Senate elections held in March 2015, the issue of rigging and floor crossing again came to the limelight which led to the debate regarding electoral mode. The Senate assumed its role and responsibility by taking up the issue on its own.
Read More: Pakistan’s Senate passes bills to amend Anti-Terrorism Act
Secret balloting: Need to amend Article 226 of the Constitution
Because of Article 226 of the constitution, the Senate rules provide that the election of senators, chairman and deputy chairman will be held through secret ballot. Article 226 says all elections under the Constitution other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister shall be by secret ballot.
This means that the elections of the prime minister and chief ministers will be held through a show of hands and not by secret ballot. Since all kinds of Senate elections are held under the Constitution, the said article will have to be amended.
Experts point out that if the secret ballot has to be changed, Article 226 will be required to be altered as recommended by the Committee of Whole Senate. Mere amending the Senate rules will not be enough to dispense with the condition of secret ballot.
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Non-secret ballot: An advantageous change?
The proposal to make the Senate election an open one makes sense in the context of manipulations that have happened in the past. These elections often attract accusations of horse-trading and in the past PTI also took action against some of its members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who were found to have been involved in selling their votes in the Senate elections.
Similarly, the election for the chairman of the Senate was also weighed down by controversy when a number of votes shifted across party lines.
Due to secret balloting in these elections, various pressure groups have also been able to influence votes and outcomes. This lack of transparency continues to cast a dark shadow over the upper house. Therefore, this attempt to reform the process is a timely one.


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@PaklovesTurkiye @PakSword
 

HAIDER

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Was expected , many resolution defeated because of secret balloting .....Sanjarni vote of confidence is one of example. Non party has trust on their members, specially PMLn and PPP. ..
 

Zibago

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Was expected , many resolution defeated because of secret balloting .....Sanjarni vote of confidence is one of example. Non party has trust on their members, specially PMLn and PPP. ..
Without secret balloting pti is heading for a super majority in senate
 

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