Pakistan’s general elections, delayed well beyond the constitutionally-mandated 90 days, were finally conducted on Thursday. The provisional results, also delayed well beyond the official deadline, have also been announced.
So what happens next?
Like all other parts of the election process, what happens after the results also has fixed deadlines in Pakistan’s laws. So here is what is likely to happen in the upcoming days.
Deadline to declare official results
According to Section 98 of Election Act 2017, election results must be published in the official Gazette by the Election Commission of Pakistan within fourteen days of the date of the poll.
WIth elections held on February 8, this means that the official results must be published in the official Gazette by February 22.
Deadline for independent candidates
The results of this year’s general election have seen independents getting more seats than any party in the election. Whether all the PTI-backed candidates will stay true to theitr party or join another is a question which will ultimatley decide the fate of the next government. Naturally, all eyes will follow where the independents go.
Section 92 of the Election Rules 2017 says that independent candidates must join a political party within three days of the publication of the results in the official Gazette.
This means that the allegiance of independent candidates will be decided by February 25, if not sooner.
Deadline for new assembly
Every election follows a period of maneuvering and dealings that decide how the next government will be formed. However, the Constitution of Pakistan has a provision to make sure that the dealings do not continue indefinitely.
Article 91 of the Constitution says that the newly-election National Assembly must convene on the twenty-first day after polls, or sooner if the president summons it.
This means that even if all of the other tasks are stretched to the last day of the deadline, the new National Assembly will meet, at the latest, on February 29.