Last modified on 17 October 2014, at 08:01

Pakistani general election, 2008

Pakistani general election, 2008
Pakistan
2002 ←
18 February 2008 → 2013

All 342 seats to the National Assembly
169 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 44.01 %
  First party Second party Third party
  Syed Gillani - World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2008.jpg CHAUDHRY NISAR ALI KHAN.jpeg Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.png
Leader Yousaf R. Gillani Nisar Ali Khan Shujaat Hussain
Party PPP PML (N) PML (Q)
Leader's seat NA-151
Multan
NA-52
Rawalpindi
NA-105
Gujarat
Seats won 119 89 50
Seat change Increase 39 Increase 70 Decrease 76
Popular vote 10,666,548 6,805,324 8,007,218
Percentage 30.8% 19.7% 23.1%
Swing Increase 7% Increase 3% Decrease 0%

2008 General Elections in Pakistan.svg

Political parties representation in National Assembly.

Prime Minister before election

Muhammad Mian Soomro
PML (Q)

Prime Minister-designate

Yousaf Raza Gillani
PPP

State emblem of Pakistan.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Pakistan
Constitution

General elections were held in Pakistan on 18 February 2008, after being postponed from 8 January 2008. The original date was intended to elect members of the National Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament of Pakistan.[1][2]

On 3 November 2007, President and Chief of army staff General Pervez Musharraf enacted a state of emergency; elections were initially postponed indefinitely.[3] However, it was later stated they would be held as planned.[4] On 8 November 2007, Musharraf announced that the election would be held by 15 February 2008,[5] but the election date was changed to occur on or before 9 January 2008.[6] Musharraf also suggested 8 January 2008 as the election date.[7] Following the assassination on Benazir Bhutto of PPP, the Election Commission conducted a meeting and announced that "elections on 8 January were no longer possible and instead, the elections would take place on 18 February 2008."[8]

President General Pervez Musharraf, supported by PML-Q, conceded the defeat of his party and pledged to work with the new Parliament.[9] Around 35.2 million people cast their vote and the voter turnout was 44.01%.[10] By-elections for 28 seats (23 provincial and 5 national) have been delayed numerous times, with most of them now held on 26 June 2008. Results indicated that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML(N)) secured the largest votes in the elections. Due to common mistrust on Pervez Musharraf, the two parties initially formed the coalition government with Yosaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Within week, the PML(N) left the coalition to lead the impeachment movement and to restore judiciary; the PPP instead formed a leftist alliance, containing MQM, ANP, and JUI(F).

TerrorismEdit

Since 2004, there was a sharp rise of terrorism incidents took place during the presidency of General Pervez Musharraf. A serious incident took place in Red Mosque located in Islamabad when Police's special forces conducted an armed raid in the Mosque. The general elections was dealt with a great shock on 27 December 2007 when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated while leaving a rally in Rawalpindi. Bhutto's assassination raised many questions as to whether the general election would be postponed. Following the fatal attack, Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting with other government officials, but stated that "no decision had been made on whether to delay the national elections."[11]

Bhutto had "become an appealing solution" to United States officials frustrated with President Musharraf's failure to restore democracy to Pakistan, The New York Times said.

Sharif stated after the assassination that his party would boycott the election.[12] He later stated that his party would take part if Bhutto's PPP contests the election.[13] The PPP then decided to name Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the new party leader with his father Asif Ali Zardari as co-leader, as asked for in Benazir Bhutto's testament. The party also decided that it would contest the elections and stated that the elections should be held as planned.

The Election Commission announced after a meeting in Islamabad that an 8 January vote was no longer possible and the election would take place on 18 February.[8]

Pre-election violenceEdit

In the weeks preceding the election, there were several attacks targeting leftist politicians and political rallies. On 9 February, a suicide car bomb killed 27 and injured 37 attending a political rally for the Awami National Party in Charsadda.[14] On 16 February, another suicide car bomb that killed 37 and injured 93 outside the residence of PPP candidate Riaz Shah in Parachinar.[15] The same day, a suicide attack on an army outpost in Swat Valley killed two civilians and injured eight people.[15] A polling location in Bajaur was destroyed by militants earlier.[15]

IssuesEdit

Code of conductEdit

Code of conduct for the election has been proposed by the Citizens' Group on Electoral Process (CGEP) to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the political parties. This suggests that all stakeholders should agree on a set of rules as early as possible, in order to provide a level playing field for a fair general election.[16]

TerrorismEdit

There have been concerns from the United States that Pakistan has not been doing enough to assist in their war on terrorism. Musharraf has rejected such claims, stating "The fight against terrorism and extremism, whether it is al-Qaeda or Taliban, can never succeed without Pakistan's cooperation and Pakistan is the only country that has delivered the maximum on both. We are tackling them with 30,000 troops. If there is anybody who is not doing enough, it is others who are not doing enough."[2] Opposition parties, especially the religious Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition, are opposed to Pakistan's role as ally of the United States in the War on Terrorism.[17] A car bomb killed 40 people and wounded 90 16 February 2008 in northern Pakistan when it exploded in front of an election office of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party.[18]

Fairness of electionsEdit

To ensure the transparent elections the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)[19] played a vital role in election monitoring. A part from this number of opposition parties called for the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf to ensure free and fair elections under a caretaker government.[20] On 8 July 2007, opposition parties issued a declaration of their demands for the elections.[20] The parties included were the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. Regarding the election, the declaration had the following clauses:[20]

CampaignEdit

Party alliancesEdit

Thirty-two parties opposed to Musharraf have joined together in a loose political alliance called All Parties Democratic Movement; the PPP, one of the main parties, was not a part of this alliance.

As Musharraf had stated that the elections would be held under the state of emergency, at least three parties stated they will boycott such elections, fearing that they would not be free and fair: the PML (N), Jamaat-e-Islami and Tehreek-i-Insaaf.[21]

The opposition parties jointly stated that the elections could not be fair, as most opposition candidates were in jail under the state of emergency and thus unable to file nomination papers for the election.[22]

On 23 November 2007, PPP members were given the go-ahead to register for the elections, while still reserving the decision to boycott the election.[23]

Imran Khan, the Tehreek-i-Insaaf leader, restated his call for a boycott on 23 November 2007, the day the APDM was to decide on whether to boycott the elections jointly.[24]

Upon his return to Pakistan on 26 November 2007, Nawaz Sharif stated he would run in the elections only if the state of emergency was lifted before the polls,[25] and that he would not serve as Prime Minister under Musharraf.[26] However, Sharif's candidacy was rejected on 3 December due to his prior criminal conviction.[27]

On 10 December 2007, Sharif and Bhutto finally announced they would not boycott the election, despite their fears that the election would be neither free nor fair.[28]

Pakistan Peoples PartyEdit

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) campaigned on wide range of issues, including country's role in terrorism, nationalization, immigration, and foreign policy. The PPP is a centre-left political party and promotes the proponents of social democracy. During the election campaign, Benazir highlighted the success of computer literacy programme that was launched in 1993, and gas pipelines infrastructure that was initiated in 1995.

Pakistan Muslim League (N)Edit

The Pakistan Muslim League-N's political campaign was led by Nisar Ali Khan, in the absence of Nawaz Sharif. The PML(N) is a centre-right political party and primarily targeted the Pervez Musharraf and PML(Q)'s government initiatives to resolve the law and order situation in the country. Due to Pervez Musharraf baring Nawaz Sharif to return to the country, the PML-N's campaign was restricted in all over the country.

Electoral supportEdit

In a poll from the International Republican Institute conducted from 19 January to 29 January, the PPP led with 50.0%, followed by PML-N with 22.0%, and Musharraf's PML-Q with 14.0%. The ultraconservative Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) had 1.0% and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) 1.0%.[29] Due to its unprecedented lead in the opinion polls, most commentators believed PPP could win a landslide victory. However, the actual results were much smaller for PPP. In the first three counts to finish, the opposition did well: The provincial assembly seat in Baluchistan went to the PPP—the party of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto—while two independent candidates won seats from the northern tribal areas.[30] Unofficial returns 19 February 2008 showed huge wins for the opposition parties of former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and the slain Benazir Bhutto, one day after a pivotal vote that could threaten Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's political viability.[31] Pakistan's two main opposition parties, the PPP and the PML (N) announced 21 February 2008 they would form a new government together after their victory over President Pervez Musharraf's allies in elections the week of 18 February 2008.[32] Shortly after making their coalition official, Pakistan's main opposition parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (N), on 9 March 2008 called on President Pervez Musharraf to immediately convene parliament (Majlis-e-Shoora).[33]

ResultsEdit

Results indicated that PPP and PML(N) secured the largest popularity votes in the elections– both campaigned on targeting Musharraf and had been politically active against Musharraf since 2003. The PML(Q) of Musharraf eminently faced the defeat, including 22 higher officials of the PML(Q) who were the cabinet ministers which constituted a bulk of the previous federal cabinet.

The PML(Q)'s president, Shujaat Hussain, and chief minister, Punjab Pervez Illahi lost their respected seats. Others belonging to PML(Q) who also lost the elections includes:

Dr. Sher Afghan– Former Minister for Parliamentary Affairs

On 21 February, it was announced that the PPP and the PML (N) would form a coalition government.[35] The coalition would also include the Awami National Party.

The electoral commission released final results on 6 March for all but 11 seats. These results showed the PPP with 120 seats and the PML(N) with 90 seats.[36]

National AssemblyEdit

Party Votes % Seats
Elected Reserved Total
Women Minorities
Pakistan Peoples Party 10,666,548 30.79 91 23 4 118
Pakistan Muslim League (Q) 8,007,218 23.12 38 10 2 50
Pakistan Muslim League (N) 6,805,324 19.65 69 17 3 89
Muttahida Qaumi Movement 2,573,795 7.43 19 5 1 25
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal 766,240 2.21 7 1 0 8
Awami National Party 704,811 2.03 10 3 0 13
Pakistan Muslim League (F) 685,684 1.98 4 1 0 5
Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao) 141,975 0.41 1 0 0 1
National Peoples Party 148,892 0.43 1 0 0 1
Balochistan National Party (Awami) 1 0 0 1
Independents 3,865,954 11.16 30 0 0 30
Invalid/blank votes 1,040,513
Total 35,678,035 100 271 60 10 341
Registered voters/turnout 80,910,318 44.10
Source: ECP, IFES

Following the election, seven independents joined the PPP, whilst three joined PML-N.[37]

Provincial assembliesEdit

Parties Punjab Sindh NWFP Balochistan
Pakistan Peoples Party 107 93 30 12
Pakistan Muslim League (N) 171
5
Pakistan Muslim League (Q) 84 9 6 18
Muttahida Qaumi Movement 0 51 0 0
Awami National Party 0 2 48 4
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan 2 0 14 10
Pakistan Muslim League (F) 3 8 0 0
Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao) 0 0 6 0
Balochistan National Party (Awami) 0 0 0 7
National Peoples Party 0 3 0 0
National Party 0 0 0 1
Independents 4 0 11 12
Total general seats 297 130 99 51
Reserved Seats (Women) 66 29 22 11
Reserved Seats (Minorities) 8 9 3 3
Declared results 370 166 124 65
Total seats 371 168 124 65
Source: Election Commission of Pakistan

By-electionsEdit

By-elections for 28 seats (23 provincial and 5 national) have been delayed numerous times, and are currently unscheduled. They are being contested, among others, by Nawaz Sharif (who initially stated he had withdrawn, but then appeared to be contesting the election nonetheless;[38] his brother Shehbaz Sharif will also run in the by-elections)[39] and Asif Ali Zardari.[40][41]

The by-elections had originally planned for 3 June 2008, then postponed to 18 June 2008; a further planned postponement to 18 August 2008 due to security reasons met with large-scale opposition, leading to a rescheduling at the time to 26 June 2008.[42][43] PPP announced it would not run in the by-elections which prominent leaders of the PML-N would contest.[44][45] On 23 June 2008, Sharif was again banned from the election due to his earlier court conviction,[46] leading the Supreme Court on 25 June 2008 to postpone the by-election for Sharif's seat until after appeal deliberations which begin on 30 June 2008 are concluded.[47] By-elections for the other seats were held as planned on 26 June 2008.[48]

59 candidates contested the five national seats, while the 282 candidates contesting the provincial seats were divided as follow:[49]

  • 171 candidates for the 12 vacancies in Punjab
  • 68 candidates for the seven vacancies in the NWFP currently known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Urdu: خیبر پختون خواہ)
  • 25 candidates for the three vacancies in Balochistan
  • eight candidates for the single vacancy in Sindh

Unofficial results showed that PML-N had won three national seats and PPP the other two; of the provincial seats, PML-N won eight, PPP seven, the Awami National Party two and independents six.[50] Turnout was reportedly low.[51]

Government formationEdit

Support for the PPP-led government alliance 2008–13
Party/Alliance Total Seats Voter turnout
In government
342 44.10%
Parties
PPP 124 30.79%
MQM 25 7.43%
ANP 13 2.03%
JUI(F) 6 2.2%
PML(Q) 50 23.12%
Total 218 65.57%

Due to a common mistrust on Pervez Musharraf, the PML(N) agreed to formed a coalition government after succeeding with an agreement reached on March 2008. The PPP appointed Yousaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister over the populist Amin Fahim. After taking the oath and appointing a cabinet, Prime Minister Gillani worked toward consolidating the power to weakened Pervez Musharraf.

The PML(N) on the other hand consistently worked towards building efforts to lead a successful movement to impeach President Pervez Musharraf. Supported by MQM and ANP, Asif Zardari was endorsed to the presidency in 2008. The PML(N) left the coalition government over the multiple disagreement on the issue of restoring of deposed judiciary, national amnesty, the nationalization, and the policies in regards to the War on Terror. The PML(N) also had clash over the socialist ideas and centralizing of leftist forces on a common ground. In 2009, Prime Minister Gillani approved the PML(N) departure, and instead, named a new cabinet with a new and more prudent leftist alliance consisting of MQM, ANP, JUI(F).

In December 2010 the MQM withdrew from the ruling coalition, including its 2 cabinet ministers Babar Ghauri, the ports and shipping minister, and Farooq Sattar, minister for overseas Pakistanis. Amongst their reasons for withdrawing were corruption, law and order and rising prices.[52] However, the MQM returned to the government in matter of weeks with the PML(Q) also joining the Coalition government in 2012.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ahmed Rashid (2007-01-10). "Pakistan's uncertain year ahead". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Election Tracker: Pakistan". Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  3. ^ "Musharraf targets key opponents". BBC News. 4 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  4. ^ "Pakistan 'to keep elections date'". BBC News. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  5. ^ "Musharraf vows polls in February". BBC News. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Bhutto's 'long march is illegal'". BBC News. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  7. ^ "Musharraf recommends general elections to be held on Jan. 8 – People's Daily Online". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  8. ^ a b "Pakistan Delays Vote After Bloodshed". Sky News. 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  9. ^ Perlez, Jane; Gall, Carlotta (20 February 2008). "In Pakistan, Musharraf's Party Accepts Defeat – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  10. ^ "Panorama of Parliamentary Elections 2008" An Annual Publicationof the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2008 ed.
  11. ^ Masood, Salman; Gall, Carlotta (2007-12-28). "Bhutto Assassination Ignites Disarray". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  12. ^ "guardian.co.uk". The Guardian (London). 2008. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  13. ^ "Sharif to 'review' boycott if PPP goes to polls-Pakistan-World-The Times of India". The Times Of India. 2008. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  14. ^ "Pakistan blast toll rises to 27". CNN. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  15. ^ a b c "AFP". AFP. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  16. ^ "Model code of conduct for polls proposed -DAWN – Top Stories; 03 July 2007". 2008. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  17. ^ "Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  18. ^ "Car bomb kills 40 ahead of Pakistan vote". CNN. Archived from the original on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  19. ^ "Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)". www.fafen.org. Free and Fair Election Network. 
  20. ^ a b c M. Ziauddin (2007-07-09). "MPC declaration asks Musharraf to resign: PPP's stand accommodated". Dawn. Archived from the original on 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  21. ^ "Pakistan Opposition parties announce boycott of polls-Pakistan-World-The Times of India". The Times Of India. 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  22. ^ "Bloomberg.com: Worldwide". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  23. ^ "Bhutto's party gives go-ahead for members to file papers for elections in Pakistan – People's Daily Online". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  24. ^ "Pakistani opposition leader calls for polls boycott – People's Daily Online". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  25. ^ "Pakistan rivals enter poll fray". BBC News. 26 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  26. ^ "Sharif welcomed back to Lahore". BBC News. 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  27. ^ "Sharif's candidacy papers rejected". CNN. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  28. ^ "Opposition to take part in Pakistan elections – International Herald Tribune". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  29. ^ "Angus Reid Global Monitor". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. [dead link]
  30. ^ "CNN.com – Page Not Found". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. [dead link]
  31. ^ "CNN.com – Page Not Found". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-20. [dead link]
  32. ^ "Pakistan's opposition parties reach agreement". CNN. 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-21. [dead link]
  33. ^ "Anti-Musharraf parties to form new government". CNN. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-09. [dead link]
  34. ^ "Sh Rashid, Ch Shujaat face surprising defeat". Geo TV. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  35. ^ "Al Jazeera English – News – Pakistan Parties To Form Coalition". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  36. ^ "Musharraf opponents get MPs boost", BBC News, 7 March 2008.
  37. ^ Party position ECP
  38. ^ Former Pak PM allowed to contest by-election - People's Daily Online. English.people.com.cn (2008-06-02). Retrieved on 2013-08-03.
  39. ^ english@peopledaily.com.cn (2008-05-04). "Former Pakistani PM not to take part in by-elections – People's Daily Online". English.people.com.cn. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  40. ^ "Main News". Thepost.com.pk. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  41. ^ "ONLINE – International News Network". Onlinenews.com.pk. 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  42. ^ "Election for 38 seats to be held on 3 June -DAWN – Top Stories; 15 April 2008". DAWN. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2010-08-06. [dead link]
  43. ^ "South Asia | Anger in Pakistan at poll delays". BBC News. 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  44. ^ english@peopledaily.com.cn (2008-05-13). "PPP not to field candidates against PML-N leaders in by-elections – People's Daily Online". English.people.com.cn. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  45. ^ "South Asia | New by-election date in Pakistan". BBC News. 2008-05-07. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  46. ^ "South Asia | Sharif barred from Pakistan poll". BBC News. 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  47. ^ "South Asia | Court delays key Pakistani poll". BBC News. 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  48. ^ "South Asia | Pakistanis vote in by-elections". BBC News. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  49. ^ english@peopledaily.com.cn (2008-06-26). "Pakistan's by-elections conclude, counting begins – People's Daily Online". English.people.com.cn. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  50. ^ PML-N, PPP combine sweep Pakistan by-polls[dead link]
  51. ^ "CENTRAL/S. ASIA – Pakistan ruling parties gain seats". Al Jazeera English. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  52. ^ Pakistan ministers to quit cabinet - Central & South Asia. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2013-08-03.

External linksEdit

Background informationEdit