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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Pakistan poll figures show anomalies
Mian Aslam, right, a candidate of a religious alliance of Islamic parties meets supporters in Islamabad
Alliance candidate, Mian Aslam happy at the result

More Pakistani voters cast their vote in last week's election than in two previous elections, according to the country's Election Commission.

The commission says more than 41% of the electorate turned out to vote.

The revised polling figures include votes cast by post but does not make any significant difference on the overall party position in the new national assembly.

Graph
Earlier assessments had shown a lower turnout but these latest figures from the Election Commission have proved them wrong.

They show the turnout in rural areas and villages to be high with some constituencies having a turnout of over 50%.

Interesting picture

This is a much higher figure than in the cities where polling was much slower.

The Election Commission's latest figures provide an interesting picture of the performance of many major political groups.

For instance, the pro-government Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) or PML (Q) has emerged as the single largest party with 77 seats.

However, it received fewer votes than Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (Parliamentarian) or PPP, which won only 62 seats.

According to the election commission, out of a total of just over 70 million registered voters, a total of just fewer than 30 million cast their vote.

The PML (Q) received 7.33 million votes; or 24.81% of the votes polled.

The PPP however, had 7.39 million votes; or 25.01% of the total votes polled.

Surprises

The situation of the five-party alliance of religious parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal or MMA is even more interesting.
Raza Rabbani, secretary-general of Pakistan Peoples Party
Raza Rabbani, PPP: Share of vote more than PML(Q)

The alliance surprised many observers by winning 52 seats, including seven independents from the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, who were elected with MMA's backing.

But it seems the MMA's victory was mainly in the areas where relatively fewer votes were polled, as it received just over 3.29 million votes, and its overall percentage comes to 11.10 of the total.

In comparison, the PML (N), a Muslim League faction of former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, won a mere 14 seats.

However, its candidates polled a total of 3.32 million votes, or 11.23%; slightly higher than that of the MMA.

When the election statistics are analysed at a provisional level, they reveal further anomalies.

The statistics are based on the results of 269 out of 272 seats announced by the Election Commission, as 3 results have been withheld, due to irregularities or complications.

Although the overall turnout in last week's elections was higher than in the two previous elections, it was far less than the 71% turnout reported by the same election commission in the controversial Presidential referendum earlier this year.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Susannah Price
"Pakistan's parliament will soon be full of fresh faces"
John Cushnahan, EU Observer Mission
"What the authorities did here was unjustifiably interfere in the election administration"
Major General Rashid Qureishi. Pakistan military
"The conclusions focuses entirely on philosophical rather than electoral issues"
Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

10 Oct 02 | South Asia
17 Oct 02 | South Asia
16 Oct 02 | Business
16 Oct 02 | South Asia
16 Oct 02 | South Asia
09 Oct 02 | South Asia
08 Oct 02 | South Asia
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