Open ballot in Senate Move to hit very basis of creation of Senate: Raza Rabbani

January 30, 2021 10:31 pm by Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani on Friday rejected the government move to present a constitutional amendment in Parliament for open ballot by deleting the transferable vote for Senate elections, arguing that this step will only benefit larger parties and the Senate will reflect the composition of the National Assembly.

“I want to make it clear that I do not defend non-transparency in the electoral process but the move to amend the Constitution for open ballot will hit the very basis of the creation of the Senate,” he said while talking to The News on Friday. He said that in October 2020, the federal government tabled the 26th Constitutional Amendment Bill in the National Assembly, wherein it sought an amendment to Article 59(2) by replacing the words “transferable vote” with the words “open ballot” and it further sought an amendment to Article 226.

He said the amendment to Article 59(2) seeks to replace the word “transferable” with the word “open”. “The deletion of the word ‘transferable’ means that the system of proportional representation of a single transferable vote is being replaced,” he said, adding that the purpose of the single transferrable vote is to allow all shades of political opinions present in the provincial assemblies to be reflected at the federal level. “The entire scheme of the Constitution with respect to the Senate will stand altered,” he said.

He said the federal government has already started the process of buying votes by giving development funds against its manifesto. “The chief minister Punjab has started to pursue opposition MPAs,” he said.

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