Disregarding people’s mandate violation of democracy: ECP

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Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday strongly rejected the demand of the opposition parties for the resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner saying those disrespecting the mandate of Pakistani people without any reason or for political reasons are violating basic principles of democracy.
Talking to the media ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob emphatically stated that the people exercised their right to franchise in a free and fair environment. It is against the basic principles of democracy to disrespect the Pakistani people’s mandate without any reason, or for politically motivated reasons,” the ECP official said.
Last week’s elections saw major political parties losing big in their traditional strongholds as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf clinched a majority of seats. This saw losing parties getting together and holding all parties conference and voicing concerns over election results. The shocking defeats faced by long-serving politicians sparked allegations of massive rigging and big players like the PPP and PML-N announced that they had “rejected” the results. Later, however, both PPP and PML-N announced that they would join the parliament as a tough opposition. Yaqoob also strongly condemned the All Parties Conference statement that demanded resignation of the chief election commissioner.
Yaqoob insisted that the ECP has not received any complaints of rigging from anywhere in the country, and that it expected the winning and losing candidates to respect voters’ choice by accepting the results of the July 25 election. He urged those with concerns about the poll results to take due legal and Constitutional process.
The EPC secretary said that international monitors like the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), Free and Fair Election Network and Commonwealth observers, who had observed the polls at different stages, had declared them free and fair. The ECP secretary also lauded the participation of women voters and political candidates in the election exercise, and said that the turnout of voters had been 52 per cent. However, it is pertinent to mention that re-polling has been ordered in certain constituencies where the turnout of women voters was less than 10 percent.
Yaqoob also expressed hope that all parties would respect state institutions and work towards strengthening the democratic process in the country.
He also rejected claims by the defected political parties that they were not given a level playing field in the run-up to the elections. Yaqoob said that the ECP had taken all steps to ensure that all parties had equal opportunities to campaign for elections and had also used its authority whenever needed.

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