Electoral transparency was compromised at RO offices: FAFEN

Electoral transparency was compromised at RO offices: FAFEN

The watchdog shed light on the inefficiencies in handling the electoral process
Electoral transparency was compromised at RO offices: FAFEN

Web Desk


10 Feb 2024

The election watchdog, Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), released its preliminary report on the 2024 general elections, noting a voter turnout over 48%. The report findings raised concerns about delays in announcing polling results and a lack of transparency at Returning Officers (RO) offices.

Approximately 60 million voters went to the polls in Pakistan on February 8, 2024, to elect their representatives in 265 National Assembly (NA) and 590 Provincial Assembly constituencies in one of the country’s most competitive political contests. 

The FAFEN report commended Pakistani political parties for their active campaigning and participation in the 2024 general elections. Despite a spiral of allegations by multiple political parties about not getting a level playing field as well as a spike in militant violence in some parts of the country, none of the political parties backed out of the electoral race.

Despite concerns about pre-election media restrictions, FAFEN reports that Pakistani print, electronic and digital media continued to contribute tremendously to strengthening the political and electoral process.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) must particularly be acknowledged for having organized the country’s largest electoral exercise – with the greatest number of candidates and highest number of voters – in a reasonably orderly manner,” FAFEN report maintains.

The watchdog shed light on the inefficiencies in handling the electoral process, highlighting the ECP’s delay in the preparation and announcement of preliminary election results overshadowed an otherwise orderly election, raising questions about the credibility of the election outcome.

Transparency was largely maintained at polling stations but compromised at RO offices

The report findings point out that compared to the relative procedural transparency at polling stations, FAFEN’s observers were not as consistently permitted at the offices of ROs to observe the process of the preparation of preliminary electoral results. Of 244 National Assembly (NA) constituencies, the ROs in only about half (114 or 46.7 percent) allowed FAFEN observers to witness the result tabulation proceedings

Voter Turnout

Based on FAFEN’s assessment of the Form 47 (Provisional Consolidated Statement of the Result of the Count) from 235 National Assembly constituencies, as announced by the Election Commission, the voter turnout for these elections was 48.2 percent.

Despite significant progress in narrowing the gender gap in voter registration, with collaborative efforts from the ECP, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), and civil society, the increase in women voters did not fully translate into their turnout.

PML-N, PPP vote bank increased in 2024 elections

According to FAFEN's preliminary findings, PML-N and PPP saw an increase in their voter banks, whereas PTI's retained its vote bank in the elections.

"This calculation is based on the results of 235 NA constituencies. PTI-backed candidates secured 16.85 million votes compared to the party’s tally of 16.9 million votes in 2018. PML-N increased its share of votes from 12.9 million in 2018 to 13.3 million in 2024 and PPPP’s share increased from 6.9 million in 2018 to 7.6 million in 2024," said the report.

Meanwhile, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) share has gone slightly up from 2.1 million in 2018 to 2.6 million in 2024.



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