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    Monday, 30 July 2018

    ECP approves 15 NA, 11 PA constituencies for new round of recounting

    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday issued a list of 26 national and provincial assembly constituencies where recounting has been approved.
    The requests were approved in constituencies where Form 49s — which tabulates consolidated results including postal ballots — were not received by the commission.
    The list includes 15 National Assembly constituencies, two of which will be recounted on requests moved by former prime ministers Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (NA-57 Rawalpindi-I) and Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani (NA-158 Multan-IV).
    NA-129 (Lahore-VII), where NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq was declared victorious against PTI's Aleem Khan, will also be recounted, while requests by his fellow PML-N ticket-holders Baleeghur Rehman (NA-170 Bahawalpur-I), Rana Muhammad Hayat Khan (NA-140 Kasur-I), Rana Afzaal Hussain (NA-119 Sheikhupura-I) and Rana Mohammad Afzal (NA-110 Faisalabad-X) have also been accepted.
    Recounting has also been approved at six Punjab Assembly seats, three Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and two Sindh Assembly seats.
    List of constituencies where recount has been allowed by the ECP. — Photo by Author
    List of constituencies where recount has been allowed by the ECP. — Photo by Author
    Meanwhile, recounting requests for 32 constituencies where consolidated results had already been received were rejected by the commission. These include NA-35 (Bannu), where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan defeated former KP chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, who was contesting on a Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal ticket.
    All earlier requests of recounts had been entertained at the RO and presiding officer (PO) level. These recounts will be done under the supervision of the ECP itself.

    When can a candidate seek a recount?

    Recount requests can be entertained at three levels — the PO, RO and the ECP level.
    A presiding officer can order a recount at his/her polling station of his own motion or at the request of a candidate, the candidate's election agent or a polling agent. According to Article 90 (6) of the Elections Act 2017 of the constitution, the PO can only order a recount once.
    The RO, on the other hand, can order a recount right up till the process of consolidation starts; that is, right after preliminary results are announced.
    The RO has to be provided a written request by a candidate or their election agent when the margin of victory is under five per cent of the votes polled or 10,000 votes, whichever is lesser. According to Article 95 (5) of Elections Act 2017, the RO can order a recount on one or more of the polling stations under his watch at the same time, unless he thinks the request is unreasonable.
    No rules specifying what constitutes an 'unreasonable' request is specified under election laws.
    The ECP, meanwhile, can order a recount before the completion of consolidation process, which means before the postal ballots have been counted and Form 49s have been filled out.
    It should be noted that the consolidation process has to be completed within five days of the election. After the consolidation is complete, the RO must provide signed copies of consolidated results (Form 49) to the ECP within 24 hours.
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