Election Commissioner Md Shah Nawaz on Sunday said the commission could act as a mediator to bridge the gap between the two major bickering political camps over the electoral system if they want.
“There’re differences of political opinion over the electoral system among the election-oriented parties. If they accept us as a mediator, we’ve no objection to arrange negotiations. We’ll act as a mediator to close the gap over the electoral system,” Shah Nawaz said.
The EC will sit with the parties to fix the election date only after all political parties ensure their participation in the next parliamentary election, otherwise the polls date will be announced as per the provision of the constitution, he told reporters at his EC secretariat office.
“If the participation of all political parties in the next parliamentary election is ensured, the EC will sit in talks with the parties to fix the election date considering their convenience. Or else, the election date will be fixed as per the constitutional provision,” he said.
“In fact, the Election Commission is a body to oversee the election. If political parties seek our cooperation, we must respond,” Shah Nawaz said in reply to a query whether the commission will play a role of mediator in bringing the squabbling political camps to the negotiation table.
The commission is a constitutional body which must be run by the Constitution, he said, adding that the EC has no option to think otherwise. “The constitution will definitely get the priority when it comes to the ground reality.”
As per the laws and the constitution, the election will have to be held within 90 days before the expiry of the government tenure. “So, the commission must complete the election by January 24 next,” he said.
In response to a query whether there is any date in the commission’s mind, Shah Nawaz said it has not yet taken any decision over fixation of date for 10th parliamentary election.
The article 123 (3) of the Constitution states: “A general election of the members of Parliament shall be held-(a) in the case of a dissolution by reason of the expiration of its term, within the period of ninety days preceding such dissolution; and (b) in the case of a dissolution otherwise than by reason of such expiration, within ninety days after such dissolution.”