The 2018 general elections will be held sometime between July 25 and July 31, DawnNewsTV reported on Saturday, quoting officials from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), with the finalised list of candidates to be released 28 days prior to polling day.
The candidates will thus get 28 days to run their campaigns instead of 21. The printing of ballot papers will also commence 28 days before the country goes to the polls.
The ECP officials said that the upcoming polls, per the Constitution, must be held by July 31 under any circumstances. A final schedule is set to be released 60 days in advance, which should fall somewhere in the final week of May.
The commission, for the first time in Pakistan's electoral history, will release a 55-day election schedule as opposed to the 48-day schedule that was the norm until now.
According to the ECP's statistics, the number of registered voters in Pakistan, following the review of voters' lists, has reached 104,267,581 — of which 58,463,228 are men and 45,804,353 women. The numbers indicate a widening gap in the ratio of male and female voters in the country.
ECP officials recalled that a deadline of April 30 was set for the registration, change, transfers, entry and exit of voters and the commission is now working on formulating electoral lists.
Meanwhile, the ECP plans on printing a combined total of 220 million ballot papers for the upcoming national and provincial polls.
The officials also said that the deployment process of returning officers (ROs) and deputy returning officers (DROs) in the entire country has been concluded.
Up to 90,000 polling stations will be made operational for the elections, the officials added.