LAHORE - The newly-elected local bodies’ representatives are going to take oath today (Thursday) after a decade-long break following 2015 LB elections held in three phase.

The returning officers (ROs) in their respective districts, towns or tehsils will administer the oath to them. The representatives after taking oath will become voters for the next stage to elect representatives on special seats. All the elected members have been informed about the oath-taking venue and time.

According to the ECP sources, arrangements for administering oath to the elected members of district, tehsil/town, union councils have been finalised.

Lastly, the LB polls were held in the province in 2005 during General Pervez Musharruf’s era and this time party based elections were held.

After the general oath-taking ceremonies at all the districts, tehsils and union council levels, the Punjab government and the ECP will announce schedule for the next stage in which mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen/deputy chairmen of district councils, municipal committees etc will be elected. It is said that the next stage election will be through secret balloting not show of hands.

The oath-taking ceremonies of local bodies’ representatives may eventually lead to an end to the administratively-run system in Punjab as the public at large has many expectations from the newly-elected representatives.

The Punjab government had to conduct local bodies’ elections on the orders of the Supreme Court. Months after insurgency-hit Balochistan and KP provinces that conducted the LB polls, the Punjab and Sindh had to do the same but in different stages.

Punjab government, through an ordinance, has already divided metropolitan corporation and municipal corporations into zones for better service deliveries. The number of seats of deputy mayors, vice-chairmen, farmers and technocrats has also been increased. The number of deputy mayors in a municipal corporation has been increased to 13 from nine and number of technocrats will be 10 instead of three.

Ruling party in Punjab – PML-N - had won the LBs polls, besides a good number of independent candidates who grabbed many seats of the chairmen.

After the oath-taking, the process for the elections of mayors and deputy mayors for the eight municipal corporations, chairmen and vice-chairmen for 36 districts and 184 municipal committees will commence.

In capital city Lahore, the oath-taking ceremonies will be held in the respective towns while at town halls, many ROs will administer oath to LB representatives on different timings at the same venue.

A representative of the city district government told The Nation that the government would deploy sufficient police security around the buildings where oath-taking ceremonies will take place. He said that in the first meeting of the LB reps, no other business will be carried out by them.