ISLAMABAD: The Free and Fair Election Network described the 49.7% voter turnout in the by-election for 20 seats in the Punjab Assembly as “outstanding” (FAFEN)..
According to FAFEN’s assessment, the elections on July 17, 2022, “augur well for an otherwise struggling democracy in Pakistan,” noting that the by-elections culminated with the PML-N accepting loss, a rare act that can pave the way for a thriving democracy in the nation.
Despite reports of lone instances of brawls and fighting, it was stated that the election day was mainly orderly and well-managed. However, several of the episodes that the media, particularly social media, overplayed somewhat diminished the sense of the quality of the voting process.
The FAFEN observer report’s conclusions, however, indicate that the political climate remained tense in the run-up to the by-elections.It noted polarisation and a contentious campaign, disregard for the code of conduct by parties and candidates with impunity, an increase in registered voters but uneven growth and a welcome narrowing of the gender gap, an orderly and timely start to voting, a largely well-managed polling process, the need for voter choice and ballot secrecy, and legally compliant issuance of ballots at most polling stations.PTI won 15 of the 20 seats that were up for election after its members were removed for disobeying party orders in the Punjab Chief Minister election.
Four of the seats went to PMLN candidates, and one went to an independent. According to the FAFEN study, PTI has been accusing the Election Commission and other government agencies of partisanship and alleging wrongdoing from the very beginning of the by-election process.