Election Watch Update - Mar 8

The News reports that the Pakistan Peoples Party has rejected the PML-N’s nominees for caretaker prime minister. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has endorsed the nominees and says its top choice is retired judge Nasir Aslam Zahid.

A poll by Heinrich Böll Stiftung shows that the PPP is leading in the next elections. According to its findings, 29% of people surveyed said they would vote for the PPP, followed by the PML-N (25%) and the PTI (20%).

The PML-N’s manifesto looks at increasing spending in education and health, increasing the minimum wage, creating one million jobs and holding local government elections six months after the general elections. The manifesto is available here [PDF]. Read about the process of developing manifestos here.

The violence in Karachi will not delay the elections, according to Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim.

Car dealers expect a 100% increase in sales during the election campaign.

The law minister has been told by the Election Commission to file a written statement on his objections to the commission’s proposed nomination form for candidates.

Legislation to increase the representation of members of minority faiths in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies is still pending. According to Dawn, the “legislation seeking to increase the reserved seats for minorities in the National Assembly by four to 14, by three to 12 in the Sindh provincial assembly, by two to 10 in the Punjab assembly and one each to four each in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Balochistan assemblies.”

The ECP has released a code of conduct for security officials, foreign observers and election staffers. According to the ECP, security officers will serve under the returning and presiding officers, and will not be allowed inside polling stations. Foreign observers will not be allowed to interfere in the electoral process and cannot speak to the media in an individual capacity.

Over four thousand polling stations in Punjab have been declared ‘extremely sensitive’ by security officials.

The ECP has declared that the PPP’s internal elections were conducted properly and has dismissed an application filed by sidelined PPP leader Naheed Khan.

Commentary:

Shamila N. Chaudhary looks at whether Pakistan’s military is still intervening in politics, especially in the run-up to the elections. – Foreign Policy