FAFEN to Observe Second Phase of LG Polls Tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) will observe the second phase of the Local Government elections in 14 districts of Sindh and 12 districts of Punjab on November 19, 2015, says a press statement issued here on Wednesday.

FAFEN will deploy 871 (604 male and 267 female) independent and non-partisan observers in Punjab and 606 (428 male and 178 female) observers in Sindh to observe the second phase of LG elections. The observers have been given comprehensive training to observe all aspects of Local Government election on the polling day.

Simultaneously, FAFEN will monitor 12 media channels throughout the day and gather information on issues regarding the conduct of election. A Call Center consisting of 90 call agents will also be set up at FAFEN Secretariat to get direct information from observers and document the electoral irregularities.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has also finalized a 12-point Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the independent and neutral domestic observers in consultation with domestic civil society organizations, which gives credence to the whole process.

Important features of the SOP include:

  • All domestic observer organizations should apply to the ECP for accreditation cards at least 20 days prior to election
  • Heads of domestic observer organizations should provide an affidavit/undertaking about security clearance of all observers
  • All observers should adhere to the Code of Conduct in letter and spirit and sign a pledge to follow it
  • All observers should get signature of the Presiding Officers of the polling station on the back of his/her accreditation card to ensure attendance
  • SOP will be made part of the training process of the polling staff.

All observers have been instructed to remain impartial, non-partisan, independent and autonomous in observing elections as their work is crucial to improving the quality of future elections. The purpose of FAFEN’s observation is to provide independent and impartial information on the electoral process in order to develop evidence-based recommendations for improvement.

According to FAFEN’s methodology, each observer will observe four polling stations through the day and spend approximately 45 to 60 minutes at each polling station to collect information and document his/her findings on the standardized checklists. Each observer will also observe counting at one polling station.

FAFEN observed the first phase of Local Government elections on October 31, 2015 and released a preliminary findings on the conduct of elections in two Provincial capitals on November 1, 2015. The Local Government elections were held in 12 districts of Punjab and eight districts of Sindh.

The second phase of Local Government elections will be held in 12 districts of Punjab comprising Khanewal, Sahiwal, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot, Sargodha, Mianwali, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Attock and Jhelum districts.

Similarly, Local Government elections will be held in 14 districts of Sindh, including Matiari, Tando Allah Yar, Tando Mohammad Khan, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Shaheed Benazirabad, Naushero Feroz, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Tharparkar.