Election Watch Update - April 25

Over 16,000 candidates are participating in the May 11 elections for National Assembly and provincial assembly seats. Over 7,000 people withdrew from the race, largely due to the fact that they had filed papers when the political parties had not announced their final candidates or seat adjustment deals.

The caretaker government has told the Supreme Court that it will take 18 months to test voting software for overseas Pakistanis, which is why it is not possible for Pakistanis based abroad to vote in the May 11 election.

President Asif Ali Zardari has asked the ECP to stop politicians from criticizing hi

m excessively in their campaign speeches, given that the president is not ‘technically’ the head of a political party.

President Zardari has reportedly intervened to end a dispute between the Magsi and Chandio clans ahead of the elections.

The MQM will be running a door-to-door campaign to inform voters about ‘injustices’ to the party.

Dawn profiles the Faisalabad contestants and the number of candidates who have defected from the parties they ran for in 2008 or 2002.

The influence of Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi of Bahawalpur has waned in this election, but supporters are optimistic that his alliance with the PTI will work out.

The Express Tribune profiles the Orakzai constituency, where the Shia vote will be split between 18 candidates instead of one, as was usual practice.

 In Hyderabad, the alliance of Sindh nationalist parties as well as the PML-N may be an unpredictable factor. However, the alliance is still trying to decide on candidates while the PPP and MQM retain their support base.

The PML-N faces a tough fight in the Hazara division.