Electing a successor to Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain could be delayed up to September as the electoral college, which has to choose the next head of state, is yet to be constituted after the July 25 general elections, according to media reports. President Hussain's five-year term is set to expire on September 9.
According to the Constitution, the presidential election must be held at least a month prior to the expiry of the incumbent's term, which in this case would be August 8, DawnNewsTV reported.
With just over a month to go until the expiry of the President's tenure, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) expects the next presidential election to face delays, it quoted a source from the poll body as saying.
The president is elected by an electoral college comprising members of the Senate, National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. Voting is held through a secret ballot.
Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf emerged as the single largest party in the general elections on July 25, winning 116 National Assembly seats out of the contested 270 parliamentary constituencies. Khan has to seek support from other political parties and independents to form the next federal government, expected to be formed around August 11.
Since neither the National Assembly nor the provincial assemblies are functional as yet - and will likely not be up and running until at least August 10, holding a presidential election on August 8 will be nearly out of the question, the ECP source said.
Additionally, if the general and presidential elections fall in close proximity to each other, the Constitution requires that the presidential election be held a month after the general election - which in this case would mean August 25, the report said.
Since the ECP is legally bound to issue a schedule for the presidential election at least 15 days in advance - Aug 10 in this case - the incomplete status of the electoral college means that a schedule is unlikely to be issued by this date, putting the August 25 date in jeopardy as well, the report said.
Therefore, the ECP source said, the commission would likely take cover of a constitutional provision and hold the election in early September, the report said.
The ECP will issue the final schedule for the presidential elections after the national and provincial legislatures have formed and taken their oaths, Geo News reported.