Islamabad - Unlike past practices, successful independent candidates are legally bound to declare party affiliation ahead of taking their oath along with other colleagues who have returned to the assembly either after direct election or on the special seats.

“They are legally bound to submit a bond to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) within three days of its notification of all successful candidates,” sources in the ECP said on Sunday.

On its part the ECP announced yesterday that it will issue notification of all successful candidates in 2018 general elections on August 9 after successful candidates submit election expenses, otherwise ECP will withhold their final notifications meaning they would not be able to take their oath.

The ECP will also ask the successful independent candidates to declare their party affiliation within three days of issuance of their notification as successful candidates and submit their bonds in this respect. This would clearly define the numerical strength of each political party in the assembly.

Previously, the speakers of the respective assemblies used to give three days to the successful independent candidates after taking their oath. Now under the Election Act 2017, first they have to declare their party affiliation if any to the ECP prior to taking their oath.

This has made easier for the ECP in deciding cases relating to disqualification of any member under the defection clause as he/she will become vulnerable to disqualification after submitting bonds to the ECP about their party affiliation.  

Also, the ECP will notify lists of special seats including seats for women and the minorities gained by each political party in the assembly as per their respective tally very next day its issuance of final notifications of all the successful candidates.

The sessions of assemblies will be summoned after notifications of all successful candidates are issued.

Meanwhile, the ECP has directed all the political parties to submit consolidated statement of their bank accounts for financial year 2017-18 by 29th of this month.

According to ECP, the political parties, in terms of section 210 of the Election Act-2017, are required to provide account of annual income, expensive, source of its funds and assets and liabilities.

The statement of accounts can be submitted in Form-D prescribed by the Election Act, 2017.

The printed forms are available at the Election Commission Secretariat and in the offices of the provincial election commissioners.

Prescribed forms can also be downloaded from the ECP’s website.

The commission said that statement shall be delivered to the secretary ECP in its secretariat through office-bearer of the party, duly authorized by the party leader.

As per prevision of rule 156 of the Election Rules, 2017 the statement received through post, fax, courier service or any other mode will not be entertained.