Although no clear date was assigned, the authorities however confirmed the elections would take place sometime in May 2013, leaving factions only a few months to prepare.
In the general election, voting will take place in all parliamentary constituencies of Pakistan, to elect Members (MNAs) to seats in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
The current National Assembly is expected to complete its constitutional term on or before 18 March 2013, five years after the first session of the National Assembly elected during the 2008 general election. Elections must be subsequently held within 60 days of parliament having been dissolved. This will be the 11th general election for Pakistan since 1962, and potentially marks the first successful democratic transition between two elected governments.
Pakistan has a Westminster system which is a democratic parliamentary system of government modeled after the politics of the United Kingdom. Members are elected through the first-past-the-post system under universal adult suffrage, representing electoral districts known as the constituencies of Pakistan. According to the constitution, there are 70 seats reserved for women and religious minorities. They are allocated to the political parties according to their proportional representation.
The Election Commission of Pakistan is an independent, autonomous, and constitutionally established federal institution responsible with the function of administrating the general electoral process in the country.
After abrogation of 1962 Constitution in 1969, the Election Commission continued working on the basis of the "Provisional Constitution Order"
The 1973 Constitution provided for an Election Commission consisting of Chairman/Chief Election Commissioner and two Members, who were to be Judges of High Courts. The number of Members of the Election Commission was later raised to four. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution has provided more consultative process of appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and four Members of the Commission. Their appointment is now to be made on the recommendation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee consisting of twelve members of the Senate and the National Assembly belonging equally to the Government and the Opposition. Members have to be former Judges of High Courts of the Provinces.
Former judge Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim currently chairs as Chief Election Commissioner.
Chief of Tehrik-i-Minhaujul Quran (TMQ), Tahirul Qadri said Monday he did not believe his petition calling for the reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) could lead to a delay in the upcoming general elections.
Imran Khan, Chief of Tehrike Insaf joined Qadri in his demands, calling for a change of the law.
Speaking to media representatives outside the Supreme Court, Qadri said the ECP had to fulfill the criterion of transparency in accordance with the Constitution.
He added that an institution which had to meet these requirements had not been constituted in line with the Constitution
Pakistan Muslim League-Qaude Azam (PML-Q) led by Chaudhry Shujat Hussain also raised question on the status of the election commission.
Political analysts have advanced the possibility of a one to three years electorial delay and the set-up of an interim to overview the next general elections. Others are warning against groups trying to derail the democratic process.
Leaders of both the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) indicated that some elements are actively trying to stop the electoral process and by that derail democracy.
According to the Political Barometer, an opinion survey conducted by the Herald magazine in partnership with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), an Islamabad-based think-tank, Pakistani voters appear divided on many questions –- who to vote for in the upcoming elections, what issues are most critical to the country -–
Of those respondents who say they have registered for the upcoming elections, 29 per cent expressed an intention to vote for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). 24.7 per cent pledged support for the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PMLN) while 20.3 per cent indicated a preference for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).