Pakistan is all set for its general elections tomorrow i.e, 25 July 2018. Over 100 political parties are in the the contest for 272 seats in the National Assembly. A party needs to win 172 seats to form a government on its own.The total seats are 342 wherein 70 seats are reserved. If the elections go smoothly, it would be Pakistan’s second ever democratic transition of power.
Pakistan’s Voting System :
Pakistan has a total registered voter count of 105 million who will put their vote into ballots for two seats in each constituency: one for the National Assembly (the lower house of the federal parliament) and one for their Provincial Assembly (which runs their provincial government). Pakistan has four provinces -Sindh (61seats), Balochistan ( 16 seats) Punjab (147 seats) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (39 seats)
There are 3,765 national assembly candidates, 85,000 polling stations and 110 registered political parties.
Who has the upper hand ?
According to reports, it is largely a contest between two parties – Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer turned politician – Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is also a major opponent.
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) led by Nawaz Sharif himself is now in a disarray.Its leader is in jail along with his daughter Maryam. The party’s fortunes now lie in hands of Nawaz’s brother Shehbaz Sharif. PML-N draws its support from the politically important Punjab province, and to the party’s advantage, Shehbaz was a former chief minister of the state.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) led by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan could win the elections according to the opinion polls in the country. In 2013 the party managed to win 28 seats, along with the provincial elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and challenged Nawaz Sharif’s party. Khan has promised the people ‘naya Pakistan’ and reversing the status-quo in politics. He has taken the mantle of being anti-corruption and has promised healthcare and education.
Pakistan People’s Party is led by Benazir Bhutto’s son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It won the provincial elections in 2013 and also became the main Opposition party by winning 31 seats.The party wields influence in Pakistan’s Sindh province. Bilawal had taken a tough stance on the Kashmir issue and crticized Nawaz’s move to conduct dialogue with India.
Hafeez Saeed’s Milli Muslim League has also fielded 79 candidates under Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) as his party isn’t recognized.
171 women candidates are running for the National Assembly seats out of which one is Indian Superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s cousin- Noor Jehan. There are also 5 transgenders running for elections.
The results will be declared on 27 July.