ISLAMABAD, May 19, 2016: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) welcomes the unanimous passage of the Constitutional (Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 from the National Assembly that introduces 11 amendments to the election-related Articles of the Constitution. Though delayed, the changes introduced in the Constitution are a step in the right direction.
Based on its comprehensive observation and process of refinement involving input from political parties and workers, civil society organizations and student/youth groups. FAFEN's recommendations for reforms cover critical aspects of elections relating to pre-election, election-day and post-election processes in order to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. The recommendations seek to maximise autonomy, transparency, accountability and efficiency of electoral and at the same time protect the rights and entitlements of voters and candidates in a way as required by the country's constitution.
Around the globe, the extent to which a country‘s elections are conducted properly are measured against three primary ―benchmarks.‖ Initially, electoral processes are considered for whether they have been implemented in manner consistent with a state‘s election law. In turn, that law is evaluated against its consistency with best practices in election administration and for whether it meets a country‘s international legal obligations.
Both domestic and international institutions within Pakistan have devoted significant energy and resources to encouraging positive change to the country’s election law since the last general election held in 2008. While the current discussion paper contributes to this larger endeavour, it has been written specifically to fulfil a request from the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs for input into the Committee’s consideration of reforms needed within Pakistan’s election-related legislative framework.
On Election Day, February 18, 2008, FAFEN conducted the world’s largest Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) along with a robust, nationwide election observation methodology, following international principles and best practices. Almost 16,000 FAFEN Polling Station Observers (PSOs) witnessed and recorded the counting of ballots in a statistically-valid sample of 7,778 randomly-selected polling stations in 260 National Assembly constituencies.
FAFEN’s recommendations for electoral reform are based on statistically-valid data gathered by more than 18,000 observers nationwide between May 2007 and March 2008. Many of these recommendations are documented in four FAFEN Election Results Analysis reports, three FAFEN preliminary statements immediately on and following Election Day, 19 FAFEN Election Updates, the “Flawed but Fixable” voters’ list audit report, a dozen other pre-election publications, and “Election Observation Summary & Recommendations for Electoral Reforms (Submitted to the Electoral Reform Committee on June 21, 2008)”.