In a significant move leading up to the upcoming general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday unveiled its preliminary roster of new electoral constituencies derived from the digital census 2023. Despite the initial release date set for October 10, the commission wrapped up its work 15 days ahead of schedule. Consequently, the preliminary delimitation lists had been handed over to the ECP for publication on Tuesday. The objections to the constituency designations will be entertained until October 26, with hearings scheduled to commence by November 25. The final lists are slated for release on November 30. The ECP has already confirmed that polls will take place in the last week of January 2024. As per the ECP, the number of seats in the national and provincial assemblies will remain the same. There are 266 seats in the National Assembly, 297 in Punjab Assembly, 130 in Sindh Assembly, 115 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and 51 in Balochistan Assembly. ECP, in its press release, said that maps outlining the initial delimitation are also available on its website. The report also explained the ECP’s mechanism for the delimitation of national and provincial assembly seats. “The population of the province/area has been divided by the total number of general seats and the average population or quota per National Assembly seat was obtained. Similarly, the population of a province was divided by the total number of general seats allocated to the provincial assembly of a province for obtaining a quota per seat. In calculating a total number of seats, a fraction of 0.5 and above was generally taken as one seat and a fraction below 0.5 was ignored,” the report said. It also stated that because of Balochistan’s “peculiar situation” more than one districts have been clubbed for a seat. It added that the clubbing has also been made in other provinces where it was required. “The share of a district was determined by dividing the population of that district with the quota per seat of the National Assembly, or as the case may be, of the Provincial Assembly,” the report also said. Last week, the ECP had announced that general elections in the country would take place in the last week of January 2024. The poll organising authority had also decided that the final list of constituencies would be published on November 30 after hearing the objections and suggestions related to the delimitations. Subsequently, the polls will be held in the last week of January next year following the completion of the 54-day election schedule, the ECP statement added. The ECP’s statement had finally ended the uncertainty surrounding the elections as the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government’s move to approve a new census mandated the electoral body to carry out new delimitation before holding polls, sparking fears of an undue delay in polls.