ISLAMABAD / QUETTA: While three provinces continue to drag their feet on the local government elections, Balochistan is set to become the first one to complete the electoral exercise this month.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has fixed Jan 28 as the date for polling to elect mayor and deputy mayor of the Quetta Metropolitan Corporation and 1,448 chairmen and deputy chairmen of local councils.
Once the voting on these seats takes place and the results are compiled the exercise that began more than a year ago will be complete.
The process began more than a year ago
The first phase of the local government elections in Balochistan took place on Dec 7, 2013, followed by two other phases on May 29 and Dec 31, 2014.
The local councils in the province include 635 union councils, 32 district councils, 53 municipal committees, four municipal corporations and one metropolitan corporation.
According to the ECP, the victorious candidates of the respective local councils, including those elected on general seats and reserved seats for women, minorities, peasants and workers, will serve as the electoral college. And only those elected in previous phases will be eligible to contest the final phase of the electoral exercise.
Sky-blue ballot papers will be used for election of the mayor and chairmen of the local councils while white ballot papers will be used for election of deputy mayor and vice chairmen.
According to the Balochistan Local Government law, a chairman or vice-chairman can be removed from his office by a no-confidence motion if two-thirds members of the local council concerned support it. A motion of no-confidence, however, cannot be moved before the expiry of six months of their assumption of office.
When a chairman or a vice-chairman is removed from office by a vote of no-confidence, (s)he shall not be eligible for re-election to the office of any local council during the unexpired period of the term of office.
The law also provides for removal of the mayor and deputy mayor and any chairman, deputy chairman or a member of a local council by the government if (s)he has incurred any disqualification, absented himself/herself without reasonable cause, refused to take oath of office, failed to submit his/her declaration of assets and liabilities or is guilty of misconduct involving bribery, corruption, misappropriation, or misapplication of local council funds or any attempt of such misconduct.
Meanwhile, Provincial Election Commissioner Syed Sultan Bayizeed told a press conference in Quetta on Wednesday that arrangements had been finalised to hold the final phase of the electoral exercise.
He said that 10,000 elected councillors would vote and 139 presiding officers would supervise the voting.
“The tenure of the local body institutions will be four years,” Mr Bayizeed said, adding the provincial government had made best possible security arrangements to ensure peaceful voting.
Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2015