Final report: EU observers satisfied with May 11 elections

Find polls more ‘free and fair’ than previous elections.

The 140-member EU observer mission formulated 50 recommendations to help ensure better transparency in future elections. PHOTO: Zafar Aslam.

ISLAMABAD: The European Union’s Election Observer Mission, in its final report, has said the May 11 polls were much more free and fair than previous elections in the country. It cautioned, however, that not implementing certain legal provisions has left future elections vulnerable to malpractice.

Released at a news conference on Wednesday, the findings of the EU observer mission concluded that despite escalating militant attacks and procedural shortcomings, the May 11 electoral process progressed with a high level of competition, a marked increase in voter participation and overall acceptance of the outcome.

Speaking to reporters, Chief Observer Michael Gahler, however, noted that fundamental problems remain with the legal framework and the implementation of certain provisions.

“Now is the time for the new Parliament, the Election Commission and other stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to a democratic Pakistan. Legislation can be further developed and every by-election as well as local election is an opportunity for implementing improved practices,” he added.

The 140-member EU observer mission formulated 50 recommendations to help ensure better transparency in future elections. Of these seven require constitutional changes and 17 require changes in the primary legislation, according to Gahler.

The EU observer mission suggested the formation of a special parliamentary committee on elections to review related legislation within a framework of international law commitments. Key issues to address in this regard include candidacy criteria, transparency requirements and mechanisms for effective remedy.

It also recommended that the Election Commission of Pakistan should take full responsibility for the administration of the elections. The commission must fully implement its five-year strategic plan as well, the EU mission noted in its report.

It proposed that ECP should establish a clear regulatory framework for all aspects of the election, including results management, observation and scrutiny, and complaints. The commission should also review and develop procedures to increase checks in the polling and results process, and develop practices to improve the quality of the completed results forms, the report maintained.

The EU observer mission also asked ECP to introduce strong transparency measures, including making all notifications, decisions and election related information immediately and easily available to the public.

“All polling and results information should swiftly be made available to the public on the ECP website.”

It also suggested that the legal framework for media be revised so that it fully supports editorial independence and eliminates opportunities for censorship.

The EU mission stressed the need for measures to promote the participation of women in the electoral process, through measures such as more Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) drives, requiring parties to make policies and information on women’s participation within the party publicly available and ensuring greater coverage of women in politics in the state media.

The mission also called for the abolishment of a separate list for Ahmadi voters, so that all voters are on one unified electoral roll.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.


truthbetold | 8 years ago | Reply

I always wonder how these foreign 'observers' can really make such judgments about elections sitting in some office in the host country, especially a large one. They have to apparently rely on news reports and what the establishment contacts tell them. They could have easily done the same thing by staying in their own countries! By the way, I am not questioning the validity and fairness of the recent Pak elections.

S | 8 years ago | Reply

Is there some kind of law that can penalize newspapers for misinformation, malice, incompetence and misleading? One of the only things that I was proud of in Pakistan was having a vibrant media. A media that highlighted all our issues and kept everyone informed. But lately it seems as if every channel has its own agenda. Its no different from Fox News in the US who ran a story that the Russian meteor shower was caused by the US. I think Tribune understands that most of the Pakistani people are not very literate and they will buy anything said in their newspaper without any issues. If they are going to mislead the people, they should at least try being more discreet. Their credibility is highly questionable! To the readers here I say: take everything you read here with a grain of salt.

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