Turn-out Drop, Low Incidence of Irregularities Mark By-Elections

Turn-out Drop, Low Incidence of Irregularities Mark By-Elections

ISLAMABAD, October 22, 2018: A perplexing drop in voters’ turnout characterizes an otherwise well-managed by-elections held in one national and two provincial assembly constituencies on October 21, 2018, warranting an urgent attention of political parties to address the dwindling public interest in the electoral process, which remained high only three months ago during the General Elections (GE) 2018.

Procedural irregularities such as restrictions on polling agents were observed to have increased during these by-elections, more on Karachi seats (NA-247 Karachi South-II and PS-111 Karachi South-V) than on Peshawar seat (PK-71 Peshawar VI), wherein 15 percent of observed polling stations, polling agents were seated at a place where they could not observe the polling process. In addition, the by-elections also recorded an increase in the number of ballots excluded from the count at the polling stations. Read more

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Results Management Improves in Low Turnout By-Elections

Results Management Improves in Low Turnout By-Elections

ISLAMABAD, October 16, 2018: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) observed significant improvement in the quality of the election result management process during low-turnout October 14 by-elections, which remained peaceful throughout the day, says a press statement released on Tuesday.

While a considerable decline in the turnout in these constituencies as compared to July 25, 2018 is disconcerting, the transparency and efficiency of vote counting at the polling stations and tabulation of the provisional results by the Returning Officers (Form-47-Provisional Consolidated Statement of the Result of the Count) was encouraging, improving the overall credibility of the electoral process. With the exception of PB-40 (Khuzdar-III), provisional results for the remaining constituencies were finalized by 2:00 am deadlines as stipulated by Section 13 (3) of the Elections Act, 2017. Read more

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FAFEN’S Analysis of Voter Turnout in GE-2018

FAFEN’s Analysis of Voter Turnout in GE-2018

Islamabad, August 12, 2018: Although national voter turnout decreased marginally from 53.62% in 2013 to 51.99% in General Election 2018 (GE-2018), as many as 8.45 million more voters turned out to vote as compared to General Election 2013 (GE2013), indicating an abiding commitment and interest of citizens to exercise their right to choose their government representatives.

The significant increase in the number of voters is primarily due to an unprecedented increase in voter registration between the two general elections – from 86.18 million in 2013 to 105.96 million in 2018. The increase in the number of registered voters in the five years between the 2013 and 2018 elections (19.77 million) was more than the increase in the 10 years between the 2002 and 2013 elections (14.27 million). Similarly, between polls in 2002 and 2008, only 8.88 million were added to the electoral rolls, and between polls in 2008 and 2013, the voter population increased by a mere 5.39 million. Read More >>

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Nearly 1.67 Million Ballots Excluded from the Count in General Election 2018

Nearly 1.67 Million Ballots Excluded from the Count in General Election 2018

Islamabad, August 3, 2018: The number of ballot papers excluded from the count in General Elections 2018 surpassed the number of ballots rejected in General Elections 2013. Nearly 1.67 million ballots were excluded from the count in GE-2018. This number may slightly vary after the final consolidated result is released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as the ballots excluded from the count at the polling station level by Presiding Officers are to be reviewed by the Returning Officers during the consolidation proceedings, who can either reject them or count them in favor of a candidate if excluded wrongly.

The increase in the number of ballots excluded from the count was a ubiquitous phenomenon observed in all provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory with nearly 11.7% overall increase. In Islamabad Capital Territory, the number of ballots excluded from the count is more than double the rejected ballots in the region in GE-2013. Around 40% increase in the number of ballots excluded from the count was observed in Balochistan, 30.6 % increase in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), 7% increase in Sindh and 6.6% increase in Punjab. Read More >>

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General Election 2018: FAFEN’s Preliminary Election Observation Report

General Election 2018: FAFEN’s Preliminary Election Observation Report

ISLAMABAD, July 27, 2018: More than half of Pakistan’s registered voters went to the polls on July 25, 2018 to mark the second consecutive democratic transition of power, clearing the uncertainties over the future of democracy in the country. The election campaign was long-drawn and competitive, in an extremely polarized political environment punctuated by a few major terrorist attacks. Election Day was better managed, relatively peaceful and free of any major controversy until late night concerns emerged over the transparency of the counting process, and the subsequent slow process of announcement of provisional results prompted some political parties to reject the election results.

Despite issues with the Result Transmission System (RTS) set in place by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to meet the requirements of the new Election Law that was enacted in October 2017, Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) acknowledges significant improvements in the quality of critical electoral processes in the election cycle that inspired greater public confidence. With regard to voter registration, with a particular focus on increasing women enrollment on electoral rolls, and greater diligence in following legally defined principles in delimitation and effective enforcement of campaign rules, the Election Commission appeared to be more assertive in its attempt to deliver an improved quality of election. Read More >>

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General Election 2018: Assessment of Polling Stations

General Election 2018: Assessment of Polling Stations

ISLAMABAD, July 24, 2018: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has been conducting periodic assessments of the political environment and the implementation of election-related laws, rules and regulations since January 2018, as part of its multi-phase observation of General Elections (GE) 2018. The purpose of the observation is to contribute to the evolution of an election process that is free, fair, transparent and accountable, in accordance with the requirements laid out in the Elections Act, 2017. FAFEN produces regular updates, information briefs and reports to provide objective, impartial and evidence-based information regarding the quality of electoral and political processes to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties, the media, civil society organizations, and citizens.

This assessment of polling stations comprises analysis of the Final Lists of Polling Stations available on the ECP’s website, and findings by FAFEN observers on the availability of facilities at 10,895 polling stations in sampled electoral areas, perceptions of 1,574 National Assembly (NA) candidates regarding the process of finalizing polling stations and estimations by 12,104 citizens concerning ease of access. As part of its election observation methodology, FAFEN randomly sampled 50 electoral areas in each NA constituency. Read More >>

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FAFEN Election Campaign Monitor

ISLAMABAD, July 20, 2018: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) is observing the electoral and political environment in the country since January 2018. Following the announcement of the election program for General Election 2018, FAFEN expanded the scope of its election observation from the district to the constituency level. This Election Campaign Monitor is based on the direct observation of election campaign activities and implementation of Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Contesting Candidates, media monitoring of electoral violence, and citizens’ interviews on electioneering, voter freedom, women’s enjoyment of voting rights and voter inducement.

As part of its election observation methodology, FAFEN randomly sampled 50 electoral areas in each National Assembly (NA) constituency. In each sampled electoral area, FAFEN interviewed three citizens, including women, to gauge citizens interest in participating in political gatherings and gather their views on the political environment, election campaign, and women’s freedom to vote. FAFEN observers also conducted an assessment of campaigning activities and recorded violations of ECP’s Code of Conduct in the sampled electoral areas. Read More >>

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FAFEN to Deploy 19,000 Citizens for Election-Day Observation

ISLAMABAD, July 15, 2018: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), a coalition of over 50 leading civil society organizations, will deploy 19,000 observers across 272 National Assembly consistencies to observe the voting and counting processes at 85 percent of the total polling stations established by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the General Election to be held on July 25, 2018.

Acceding to FAFEN’s request, the ECP has directed the Provincial Election Commissioners (PECs) in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh to issue accreditation cards to FAFEN observers after fulfillment of all codal formalities. FAFEN will deploy 9,884 observers in Punjab, 4,225 in Sindh, 3,549 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including FATA), 1,117 in Balochistan and 225 in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). FAFEN’s accredited non-partisan and trained citizens will observe the Election-Day environment outside polling stations, incidents of electoral and political violence, pre-polling preparations at the polling stations, voting processes inside the polling booths and stations, ballot, vote counting and ECP forms-filling processes at the polling stations and the barriers to women voting. Read More >>

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FAFEN Releases Fifth Update on Long-Term Observation of General Election 2018

ISLAMABAD, July 1, 2018: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has released its 5th Update of the Long-Term Observation of General Election 2018, containing information on the political and electoral environment in the country from June 1 to June 30, 2018. The Election Update also tells about the finalization of polling stations by the Election Commission of Pakistan, information on the nomination process of contesting candidates, inauguration of development schemes and the incidence of political and electoral violence, besides other issues of importance. Read More >>

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FAFEN Releases Fourth Update on Election and Political Environment Before GE-2018

FAFEN Releases Fourth Update on Election and Political Environment Before GE-2018

ISLAMABAD, June 12, 2018: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)’s General Elections (GE) 2018 Update-IV is based on observation data gathered systematically from 130 districts by as many trained and non-partisan District Coordinators (DCs) during the latter half of May 2018 (May 16 to May 31). The information was collected through 731 interviews with representatives of 44 political parties and groups. Update-IV documents district-level political alignments and realignments prior to GE 2018, and includes key observation findings regarding 325 political gatherings held across the country.

Moreover, based on data gathered through methodical monitoring of 11 national and regional newspapers, the Update includes information on reported incidents of political and electoral violence and politically-motivated advertisements in the press. Additional observation findings on postings and transfers ahead of GE 2018 and allotment of election symbols are also included. Read More >>

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