Islamabad: Pakistan's Election Commission on Wednesday decided to give people the choice of not voting for any of the candidates in the fray for the May 11 general election, with the inclusion of a "none of the above" option in ballot papers. Officials said re-polls would be held in constituencies where 51 per cent of voters choose the "none of the above" option.
The decision to include the "none of the above" option in ballot papers was made at a meeting of the poll panel chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim. Since the measure will require legal backing, a formal proposal will be sent by the Election Commission to the Prime Minister about issuing an ordinance.
"The Commission decided to write to the caretaker Prime Minister to forward the matter to the President for promulgating an ordinance to include the 'none of the above' provision in ballot papers," Election Commission Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed told a news briefing. A blank slot will be included in ballots along with the names of candidates in every constituency.
If 51 per cent of voters opt for the blank slot, a re-election will be held in the constituency, officials said. The option will be a step towards ascertaining the integrity of candidates by voters, officials said.
The measure was proposed by the Supreme Court in one of its decisions as it is in vogue in several countries. The Election Commission further decided to monitor activities in all "sensitive" constituencies on election day by satellite.
A formal proposal will be sent to the Information Technology Ministry to help in this regard, officials said. The Interior Ministry has set up a "National Election Security Cell" for ensuring the security of candidates contesting the polls.