High turnout in Pakistan’s landmark election a positive step for democracy: EU Election Observation team

May 13, 2013 Off By Web Desk

Islamabad: High turnout in Pakistan’s landmark election was a positive step for democracy despite the fact the campaign was marred by violence. European Union Election Observation Mission has stated this in its preliminary report released here on Monday.

It stated that political party’s candidates and voters demonstrated strong commitment to the democratic process in the just concluded general elections.

The report said that Election Day showed commitment of people of Pakistan to democratic governance by overcoming militant violence.

Releasing its preliminary report in Islamabad this afternoon‚ Chief Observer of the Mission Michael Gahler said that parties‚ candidates and voters continued to participate in the electoral process despite high levels of militant attacks in parts of the country.

The report said the Election Day showed the commitment of the people of Pakistan to democratic governance by overcoming militant violence. He said the mission saw a competitive process‚ with twice as many candidates as there were in 2008. It is important that framework of the elections is further developed‚ so that democracy is strengthened.

Michael Gahler said that of the stations they visited‚ polling was generally rated as satisfactory or good but was rated as poor or inadequate in nine percent of stations. He said that Election Commission’s late decision to extend voting by one hour‚ caused confusion.

Speaking on behalf of the members of the European Parliament‚ Richard Howitt said the turnout in defiance of the threats against the process was an extraordinary vote of confidence in democracy itself. The mission will remain the country till fifth of next month to observe the tabulation of results and electoral dispute resolution mechanisms. It will publish its final report‚ containing detailed recommendations‚ within two months of the conclusion of the electoral process. Violence during the campaign and on Election Day had been “terrible, but must not overshadow the achievements of the process”, MEP Richard Hewitt told. “The turnout in defiance of the threats against the process was an extraordinary vote of confidence in democracy itself.

Observers said that voting procedures were mostly followed and that in a “vast majority” of stations all essential material was present, but classified nine percent of stations visited as “poor or inadequate”.