Islamabad, June 25, 2008 – The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) is fielding 464 observers to monitor fresh and by-elections in 29 national and provincial constituencies on June 26, 2008.
FAFEN has been observing pre-election environment in all these constituencies over the past month and has released two reports covering various aspects of election administration and irregularities.
On the eve of these elections, FAFEN reiterates that the Election Commission of Pakistan should implement several of its important recommendations immediately in an effort to make these polls fair and transparent. These recommendations – and all of FAFEN’s election reform proposals – are based on statistically-valid data from one year of monitoring the 2007/08 general election process as well as the largest, most technically robust Election Day observation effort in Pakistan’s history, with 20,000 observers nationwide. Such detailed statistics have never been gathered before about any election in Pakistan.
FAFEN call on the ECP to publish the election result from each polling station recorded on ECP Form XVI (Consolidation Statement of the Results of the Count furnished by Presiding Officers) before the gazetting of official results. It should also throw out the result from any polling station where there is more than 100% voter turnout (where the number of votes polled is greater than the number of registered voters), or women are prevented from voting.
FAFEN found, for example, that about 2 percent of polling stations (about 1,072 polling stations out of about 7,100 nationwide) recorded greater than 100% voter turnout, which clearly indicates fraud or other irregularity. This kind of electoral irregularity – and many other electoral problems documented systematically by FAFEN – would be deterred if the ECP would enable scrutiny of polling station results by releasing them publicly. The ECP currently publishes only constituency-wise results.
FAFEN also urges government and political parties and candidates to adhere to the election law and the code of conduct to play their part in ensuring that these elections are held in a free and fair environment.
All of FAFEN’s recommendations for electoral reform and detailed data from constituencies around the country can be found at www.fafen.org.
FAFEN had made preparation to observe elections in all 38 constituencies, but elections in seven constituencies [NA-207, NA-119, PP-295, PP-10, PP-48, PS-44, PS-62) were decided without a contest. At least one former candidate from NA-207 had contacted FAFEN, complaining he was forced to withdraw from the contest.
In PP-107 election has been postponed due to the death of a candidate, and in NA-123, it was withheld on the orders of the Supreme Court.
About FAFEN:The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) is a coalition of 40 leading Pakistani civil society organizations. It was established in 2006 to observe election processes, educate voters, and advocate for electoral and democratic reform.
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