Delays, deals, nepo babies, trends and vote rigging: Five takeaways from Pakistan’s elections
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan held parliamentary election l ast Thursday, with 44 parties fighting for a share of 266 seats in the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament. A further 70 seats have been reserved for minorities and women. If no party wins a majority of 169 seats, the one with the biggest share can form a coalition government.
The vote was overshadowed by violence, an unprecedented national shutdown of all mobile phone services and allegations of vote rigging.
Here are the five main takeaways from the election.
DELAYS, DELAYS, DELAYS
The national mobile shutdown was aimed at maintaining law and order following several attacks, but it was also responsible for a delay in the communication of results, according to authorities. The Election Commission hadn’t published any results more than 15 hours after polls closed.
By Saturday midday, there were still a dozen results pending, with no reason given for the tardiness in announcing these. The list of new parliamentarians can only be published once all the results are out, prolonging uncertainty and instability.
Pakistan’s national human rights body said there was no excuse for the hold-up and expressed concern about the lack of transparency. The international community, including the U.S. and European Union, was also worried about how long it was taking to publish all of the results.
VOTE-RIGGING AND OTHER TRICKS
Candidates observing the count at polling stations said they saw significant leads suddenly disappear or results that were announced in their favor only to be reversed to declare an opponent the winner. They said they were marched off polling station grounds or barred from entering once voting ended and that polling agents were stopped from