Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pakistani General Elections, 2013

Posted on 6:55 PM by Syed Sher Ali Naqvi


A general election will held to elect the 14th National Assembly of the Parliament of Pakistan. The current
13th National Assembly will be dissolved on or before March 18, 2013. By this date, the National Assembly will 
complete its constitutional tenure, five years from the first session of the National Assembly elected during the 
2008 general election. Elections must be held within 60 days after Parliament has been dissolved. Therefore, 
the election must take place no later than 17th May 2013.

Overview

Pakistan has a Westminster system which is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the
politics of the United Kingdom. Members are elected through the first-past-the-post system under universal adult
suffrage, representing electoral districts known as the constituencies of Pakistan. According to the constitution,
there are 70 seats reserved for women and religious minorities. They are allocated to the political parties according
to their proportional representation.


Process

During elections in Pakistan, a political party must secure 172 seats (51% of total seats) in the National Assembly
 of Pakistan to obtain a majority or else the elections will result in a hung parliament. If a political party with the
most votes is either unable or unwilling to form a coalition government within a certain time-frame, a runoff election
will be carried out.

U.S. monitor recommendations

The National Democratic Institution have stated the elections will be a “historical transition.” An NDI assessment
mission — consisting of Canada’s former prime minster Joe Clark, former Indonesian House of Representatives
member Nursanita Nasution, Chatham House senior fellow Xenia Dormandy and NDI Asia programmes director
Peter Manikas — released its findings at a press briefing in Islamabad after its observation of Pakistan’s political
framework.
The mission visited Pakistan from December 16 to December 21 and met with election authorities, government
officials, party leaders, media and citizen monitoring groups. Joe Clark commended the cooperation of all parties,
especially in adopting measures to bring the Federally Administered Tribal Areas under the political umbrella. Clark
stated that the 18th Amendment to the constitution reflects the parliament’s integrity and commitment towards a
fair democratic handover. Nursanita Nasution highlighted the need to address the rights of women in the polling
process so that “fear and intimidation in high-risk areas such as Baluchistan, FATA, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and
Karachi” would not strip women of the opportunity to vote. Xenia Dormandy suggested “improving accessibility and
adjusting locations” of women polling stations closer to those for men so that they could travel with the men in their
 families to vote. Sandra Houston, Regional Director of NDI, stated “We are impressed with the cooperation of all
the stakeholders in assuring a smooth transition,” sharing that voters have been registered with Computerised
National Identity Cards and biometrics including photographs where possible.
A US delegation consisting of Senator Carl Levin, US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olsen and Armed Services
Committee Senator Jack Reed visited Pakistan on 8th January 2013 for talks with Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz
Ashraf. The delegation stated to the Government that not only the US, but the world would observe the 2013
general elections in Pakistan with great interest.

Schedule

  • July 31, 2012: The Election Commission of Pakistan announces final printing of computerized electoral rolls, 
          the first of its kind database eliminating 35 million bogus voters off the list.
  • August 1, 2012: The Election Commission of Pakistan announces 2012 general elections would be held on 
          the basis of same old constituencies.
  • November 16, 2012: The US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olsen stated that the United States applauds
          democratic tendencies in Pakistan, expressing hopes that free and fair general elections would lead to
          peaceful transfer of authority from one civilian government to successor dispensation. Completion of the 
          current term by a democratically elected government will be a milestone in Pakistan’s history.
  • December, 2012: Supreme Court of Pakistan orders delimitation of constituencies and door-to-door 
          verification of voters with the help of Pakistan Army in Karachi.
  • January 17, 2013: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) starts door-to-door verification of voters list.

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