FAFEN Unveils Election Observation Methodology

ISLAMABAD, January 31, 2013: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) hosted a Stakeholders Briefing today (Thursday) on the scope and methodology of FAFEN’s long-term observation of the Pakistan General Elections 2013. The objective of FAFEN’s long-term election observation is to facilitate all electoral stakeholders — particularly political parties and voters — by providing timely, unbiased and accurate information that enables them to seek stricter enforcement of electoral rules, regulations and procedures.

FAFEN asked the participants for comments and feedback about the election observation plans, noting that “It is collective wisdom that ensures collective benefits.

More than 300 long-term FAFEN observers will monitor all phases of elections before, on, and after Election Day. FAFEN’s 10-month observation process, beginning on February 1, 2013, will help keep all election stakeholders informed of developments that are relevant to the fairness and transparency of every stage of the election process. FAFEN will train more than 43,000 citizens for observation of all polling stations across the country on Election Day.

FAFEN reiterated its intent to provide wholehearted cooperation to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which has the responsibility for fair and equitable enforcement of all election laws. The FAFEN Chairperson made a special request to the ECP and District Returning Officers (DROs) to facilitate the timely and efficient accreditation of all citizen-observers.

Welcoming representatives of the political parties, media and civil society, the FAFEN Chairperson noted, “You are the legitimate stakeholders as well as beneficiaries of an election that is free, fair, transparent, and following the rule of law.” FAFEN also welcomed representatives of donor agencies and international organizations in Pakistan.

According to FAFEN, “The people of Pakistan and their political parties have withstood all pressures to remain committed to the principles of political process and fair elections. In this respect, freedom and democracy have already won.”

FAFEN represents a cross-section of civil society organizations that aims to promote democracy through its role as observer and advocate for electoral, parliamentary, governance and political reforms. Building on its unprecedented observation of the 2008 General Elections and subsequent persistent advocacy for electoral reforms, FAFEN is planning Pakistan’s most extensive citizen’s oversight exercise during the 2013 General Elections.

The European Union is providing funding for FAFEN’s long-term election observation, while the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID) is funding the training of all long- and short-term observers as well as supporting all Election Day observation.  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supports FAFEN’s complementary Election Information Management System (EIMS), while FAFEN has been receiving support from The Asia Foundation since 2006.  Total funding for FAFEN’s 2012-2014 election activities from all sources is approximately US$6 million.