41 candidates of NA-120 to forfeit security deposit with ECP over low votes

19 Sep 2017


A voter casts his ballot in a by-election in Lahore. —AFP/File
A voter casts his ballot in a by-election in Lahore. —AFP/File

Out of the 43 candidates that contested NA-120 by-elections on Sunday, 41 will have to forego the security deposit submitted with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as they all failed to secure the required votes from the total ballots cast in the constituency.

According to Section 43 of the Representation of People Act 1976, any candidate who fails to get one-eighth (12.5 per cent) of the total votes cast in a constituency from where they contested the polls, would have to forego the security deposit.

The unofficial results of the NA-120 by-elections shared by the ECP apprised that only two candidates — Kulsoom Nawaz of PML-N and Dr Yasmeen Rashid — managed to secure more votes than the required minimum threshold.

There were 321,786 registered voters in the constituency of which 126,869 turned up to cast their vote on Sunday, thus the voting turnout is 39.42%, read the ECP document, a copy of which is available with DawnNews. However, 1,731 votes were rejected in the scrutiny process and 125,129 votes were declared to be accurate, it stated.

Based on the data shared by ECP, the minimal vote threshold was set at 15,641 votes, and only Kulsoom Nawaz and Dr Yasmeen Rashid stood clear of this threshold by securing 61,745 and 47,099 votes, respectively.

PPP’s Faisal Mir and Jamaat-i-Islami’s Ziauddin Ansari, however, received only 1,414 and 592 votes, respectively.

Jamaatud Dawa-backed candidate Yaqoob Sheikh, who contested the polls as an independent candidate, managed to bag only 5,822 votes — still considerably more than the combined votes of Jamaat and PPP.

According to an earlier Dawn report, the security deposit is currently set at Rs4,000 for the National Assembly and Rs2,000 for a provincial assembly seat.

Though the security deposit is not a large amount, but in Pakistani politics, anyone whose security deposit is forfeited is considered to have suffered a humiliating defeat.

However, to discourage non-serious candidates in future, the ECP has proposed to increase the security deposit from Rs4,000 to Rs50,000 for the National Assembly and from Rs2,000 to Rs25,000 for a provincial assembly.

The deposit shall not be refunded to a candidate who has received less than one-fourth of the total number of votes cast, read the proposal which is yet to be approved.