In a recent development, Republic Policy, a prominent Think Tank, has released projections indicating a potential surge in voter turnout for Pakistan’s upcoming general elections on February 8.
According to their analysis of feedback from 266 constituencies of the National Assembly, Republic Policy predicts a turnout exceeding 60%, showcasing a considerable increase from the 2013 elections when the voter turnout dropped to 51.7%.
Republic Policy’s forecast suggests that out of 128,585,760 votes, a staggering eight crore voters are expected to exercise their democratic right. This surge in projected voter turnout becomes pivotal, especially considering the decline witnessed in the previous election cycle.
International Perspective on Voter Turnout:
The International IDEA report underlines the significance of voter turnout as a crucial indicator of citizen participation in governance. Generally, higher voter turnout reflects a robust democracy, while lower turnout is associated with apathy and mistrust in the political process.
The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) sheds light on the increasing involvement of young voters in the electoral process. In the 2018 general elections, 37% of the youth exercised their voting rights, marking a significant uptick from the average turnout of 31% in the previous eight elections.
Concerns and Allegations:
Political figures, including Pakistan PTI Senator Ali Zafar and PML-N Senator Afnanullah, express concerns about the implementation of free and fair election principles and negative propaganda affecting the youth’s perception. These concerns underline the challenges faced in maintaining a transparent and unbiased electoral process.
Crackdown on Political Activities:
Law enforcement agencies have launched a widespread crackdown on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and candidates across multiple cities, ahead of the general elections. Allegations of arrests, raids on election offices, and the dismantling of party paraphernalia raise questions about the fairness of the electoral environment.
As Pakistan gears up for the February 8 general elections, the projections by Republic Policy and the concerns voiced by political figures underscore the dynamic nature of the electoral landscape. The delicate balance between maintaining transparency, encouraging youth participation, and addressing concerns about the electoral process remains a critical aspect that requires careful consideration from both policymakers and citizens alike.