ISLAMABAD, May 7, 2013: The number of pre-election complaints increased sharply in the last week of April 2013, with 1,476 complaints being registered with election officials between April 23 and 29, 2013, nearly twice the 747 complaints reportedly filed in the preceding week. Out of these complaints, nearly two-thirds (1,049 or 59.8%) were resolved, according to election officials’ records, while more than one-third (427, or 40.2%) remained unresolved, says the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).
According to data collected by FAFEN observers, Returning Officers (ROs) in 164 National Assembly constituencies received a total of 485 complaints during the reporting week or about three complaints per constituency on average. Out of these, two-thirds (328, or 67.6%) were resolved, while one-third (157, or 32.4%) were pending when the data was collected. Almost one-half of pre-election complaints received by ROs in KP (45.6%) and one-third of those received in Punjab (31.5%) remained unresolved.
In addition to complaints received by the ROs, observers reported 853 complaints filed with District Returning Officers (DROs) in 55 districts or an average of 14.5 complaints per district. The DROs addressed three-quarters of complaints (629, or 73.7%), while the remaining quarter (224, or 26.3%) remained unresolved. Almost one-third of complaints in Sindh (30.6%) were still pending. No complaints were received by the DROs in four reporting Agencies in FATA.
FAFEN observers reported that District Election Commissioners (DECs) in 59 districts received 138 complaints during the reporting week or an average of 2.3 complaints per district. The DECs resolved two-thirds of complaints (92, or 66.7%), while the remaining one-third (46, or 33.3%) were yet to be resolved. In KP, most complaints (19 out of 21, or 90.5%) were still pending.
FAFEN recommendations that ROs, DROS, and DECs should strive to address all pre-election complaints before Election Day, especially those that may have significant implications for the elections and ECP mechanisms for receiving and addressing both pre-election complaints and post-election disputes should be made more clear, accessible and transparent. All DECs, DROs, and ROs should share information with election observers and other stakeholders about the process and status of complaint resolution.
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