FAFEN says scattered irregularities were observed during by-polls, including presence of unauthorised persons inside polling stations
ISLAMABAD: With just 35% of the registered voters turning out on election day, constituencies remained peaceful with scattered instances of irregularities during the by-elections held on Sunday in eight National Assembly and three Punjab Assembly constituencies, said Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) Monday.
In its report, the FAFEEN said the voter turnout remained low compared to the General Elections (GE) 2018. The male turnout declined from 57.3% in GE-2018 to 39.5% in the by-polls, while the female turnout dropped from 45.0% to 29.7%.
In absolute numbers, 470,890 fewer voters turned out to vote as compared to 1,962,800 voters in GE-2018.
The highest voter turnout (53.3%) was recorded in PP-209 Khanewal-VII and the lowest (14.8%) in NA-239 Korangi Karachi-I, the election watchdog said.
"The lowest female turnout remained at 10.4%, recorded in NA-31 Peshawar-V, raising the need for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to look into the reasons in the spirit of Section 9 of the Elections Act, 2017."
As many as four constituencies had less than 20% female turnout compared to one with a male turnout below 20%, the election observers said.
FAFEN said that the voters’ turnout remained "especially abysmal" in two Karachi constituencies — NA-239 Korangi Karachi-I and NA-237 Malir-II — where cumulatively 17.6%% of the registered voters exercised their right to vote compared to 27.4% turnout in three KP constituencies and 44.8% in six Punjab constituencies.
According to the provisional consolidated statement of results of the count (Form-47), PTI candidates won six National Assembly and two Punjab Assembly constituencies, PPP won two NA constituencies and PML-N one Punjab Assembly constituency.
"Women as candidates have remained a cause of concern observed by FAFEN in the recent elections," the report mentioned.
Only three of the total 118 contesting candidates of these by-elections were women, reinforcing the need for political parties to reach out to these and other marginalised segments of the population for their political education and emancipation, it said.
FAFEN said scattered irregularities were observed during the by-polls, including the presence of unauthorised persons inside polling stations, and potentially compromising the efficacy of the electoral process; unchecked campaigning and canvassing inside and outside polling stations — an irregularity that has persisted during the recent by-elections; and oversized polling stations that could have potentially led to overcrowding and disorderly polling.
FAFEN observed election day with 96 trained, non-partisan and accredited observers covering 364 (12% of the total 2,937) polling stations comprising 1,216 polling booths (12% of the total 10,233 booths).
Each observer observed up to four polling stations during the day, including the opening processes at 94 and the counting processes at 80 polling stations.