Pak elections: 2008

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Well, the elections are ‘over’ and the results are out.  The people have spoken, and it seems they are tired of the military running the country. Fortunately, the elections went over quite well–considering the chaos leading up to the big day. 

 People were expecting mass rigging and random bombings.  What actually happened? Minimal rigging and ‘minimal’ bombings!!

What did happen was that voter turnout was extremely low due to the above two assumptions: 1) its all rigged anyways, and 2) it is too dangerous.  This lead to voter turnout of as low as 12% in many areas…so in that sense the election was not too democratic, I suppose.

 Anyhow, what I want to talk about is: How elections are rigged (at least a few of the methods in Pakistan)…the following few incidents are firsthand accounts I heard of the recent election.

1) Police officers (who are under the current regime)  close down an entire voting center and seal doors…then they sit inside drink tea and stamp voter forms for the existing party–all day;

2) Bandits show up with heavy weapons, walk in to the voter center, take the ballot boxes along with voter forms/lists and drive off-site–THEN they return with stuffed ballot boxes at the end of the day!

3) If a voting center has 3000 registered voters, on the actual day, there will only be 1800 that are ‘eligible’ while 1200 voters never get their chance, BUT mysteriously they end up voting that day!…someone else voted for them.

So, why was it not a mass rigging…hmm…well all of the major political parties that were contesting have won elections before…and they are ALL experts at rigging…so they were all ‘on’ to each other and anticipating rigging….thus, everyone had their reps and ‘bandits’ present at the troublesome voting stations.  As well, the attention from the international community (monitors, etc) had a huke impact on how things transpired.

 Now, what remains to be seen is how the next government is formed and what actions they will take against Musharraf.  So we arent out of the rough waters yet.

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