Significant drop in PTI’s votes in tribal elections: FAFEN


–Balochistan Awami Party emerges as a new entry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly

PESHAWAR: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) suffered a significant drop in its vote shares and seats percentage in the elections held for the recently-merged tribal districts, the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) said in its report on Sunday.

According to the report, the PTI, which had emerged as the largest political party of the country a year ago, witnessed an 11 per cent decline in its vote bank. Its seats percentage too decreased this year as in 2018, the party had a 50 per cent seats share by bagging six out of the 12 National Assembly (NA) seats whereas this year, the percentage dropped to 31.25 per cent as the ruling party could only secure 5 out of the 16 provincial assembly seats.

Analysts attribute this to the increasing inflation and the government’s failure to honour the commitments it made to the public before coming to power last July. Others say that this drop in votes is due to the fact that multiple candidates were fielded by the ruling party for the nine constituencies of the merged tribal districts.

However, the government’s woes add to the fortunes of the opposition parties. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) achieved a 24 per cent increase in its vote bank whereas the Awami National Party (ANP) witnessed a nine per cent increase. While the former did not win a single seat in the recent elections, the latter managed to secure one seat. It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) witnessed a sharp decline of 33 per cent in its vote bank.

The religious parties, including Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) too witnessed a joint growth of 15 per cent in their vote bank.

Moreover, six out of the 213 independent candidates won the polls and a majority of them opted for either the ruling party or its key ally, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). It is pertinent to mention that with three independent candidates joining BAP, it became a new entry in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly. There are currently seven political parties represented in the provincial assembly.

The report further added that the number of ballots excluded from the count exceeded the margin of victory in PK-100 Bajaur-1, PK-108 Kurram-1 and PK-115 ex-Frontier Regions, included 1176 against 1230, 431 against 1160 and 74 against 893 respectively. FAFEN covered 1,617 out of 1,896 (85 per cent) of polling stations through 953 observers. The FAFEN executives informed that the observers were allowed to observe the polling and counting process, however, at 187 polling stations observers were disallowed to enter. Majority of these cases were reported from PK-107 Khyber-111(42), PK-110 Orakzai (64).

It merits a mention here that there was a significant drop in the turnout during the recent elections. While the July 25 elections last year witnessed a turnout of 34 per cent, it dropped to 26 per cent this year. Only 19 per cent of the registered women voters showed up for the polls while only 31 per cent of the male voters exercised their right to vote.