Pakistan’s early election results show no clear leader

Islamabad, Feb 9 (EFE).- The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday started releasing the results of the general elections after a delay of 12 hours since the voting was closed, with a handful of constituencies without a clear winner.

The results of only 15 National Assembly (NA) seats out of 265 have been announced since voting ended on Thursday afternoon amid the suspension of mobile phone services, attacks by militants, and allegations of rigging.

According to initial results, independent candidates supported by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) already have six seats, while the Muslim League (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have secured five and four seats, respectively.

The PTI is the party of former cricket star and ex-prime minister Imran Khan, who was barred from contesting the election after being implicated in more than a hundred court cases and convicted in three cases in the past week that kept him in jail.

The party is facing the elections with not only its top leaders in jail but also the Supreme Court stripping it of its symbols and identity, forcing its candidates to compete as independents.

In light of this, an outcome in favor of the PTI in the elections will lead to some unexpected scenarios.

Up until Thursday, the most likely outcome for Pakistan was a win for the Muslim League, led by three-term prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

This was partly because of the advantage of having rival Khan in prison, but above all because of the tacit support of the powerful Pakistan military, seen as the real power that controls the country.

The results published so far are not enough to project a likely victor.

However, Khan’s PTI maintained it had a “landslide” victory and accused the ECP of delaying the announcements to manipulate the results.

“Let the world know that the clear and overwhelming mandate of the people of Pakistan is being stolen,” PTI said in a statement on Friday.

The interior ministry attributed the delay to a lack of telecommunications connectivity due to security precautions.

Election day took place amid the blocking of mobile phones and internet limitations, ordered by the government to prevent attacks on voting centers.

This reduced the flow of information and real-time reporting on what was happening at the centers, although authorities initially assured that this would not affect the voting process.

Pakistan is constitutionally a democratic parliamentary republic, meaning a party needs to win a majority of seats in the election to form a government.

The National Assembly comprises 266 general seats, 60 non-elected seats reserved for women, and 10 non-elected seats for minorities, making it a house of 336 members.

The election was held in 265 constituencies on Thursday after the ECP suspended the election in one. EFE


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