EU observers to share election findings on Friday

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Election Observation Mission will give out their statement on the conduct of Pakistan’s general elections on Friday. The mission is observing polling process in 87 constituencies with a total of 120 observers.

By 3pm on Wednesday, the EU observers had visited a total of 300 polling stations in Punjab, Islamabad, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The mission has no presence in Balochistan and erstwhile FATA region.

The EU elections observation mission comprises 60 observers from the EU, assisted by 60 local observers.

Head of the EU election observation mission Michael Gahler, who is a member of EU Parliament from Germany, visited four polling stations in various areas of Islamabad on Wednesday. He told the media outside a polling station in the afternoon that reports had started coming in from across the country and they were busy processing them. Gahler said he personally had not come across any major anomaly in Islamabad but said it would be too early for the mission to comment on overall conduct of the elections.

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“We are a bit handicapped as we were almost a month late on the ground, but we are taking note of what’s in the media [during the pre-poll process],” Gahler said, adding there was no major point to be reported so far. “We are processing the data that have come in. Our observers are in 32% of the total constituencies. We are getting reports from our colleagues. It’s a good sample and we will get a diverse view,” Gahler said.

The mission will issue its preliminary report in Islamabad on Friday and a final report along with recommendations by end of September.

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Gahler, who also observed the 2008 and 2013 general elections from the EU, said they had given 50 recommendations to the government after 2013 elections. “36 of our recommendations have been completely or partially addressed.”

Gahler further said the security situation had improved in the country compared to previous elections. He also did not comment on the deployment of army troops at polling stations saying they assess elections in the context of every country’s specific requirements.

Quetta attack condemned

The chief observer condemned this morning’s attack near a polling station in Quetta, which reportedly killed over 30 people.

“This is a deplorable and cowardly attack on a day when voters across Pakistan should be casting their ballots in a peaceful environment, without fear or hindrance,” he said in a statement.

“Violence must not undermine the elections and the democratic process. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the people of Pakistan.”

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