ECP stops FAFEN from monitoring by-polls
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has refused to issue accreditation cards to the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) for observing the by-election in NA-151 in Multan-IV scheduled to be held on July 19 (today).
However, in a press release FAFEN declared that it will continue to mobilise its observers to monitor the by-elections in Multan.
ECP’s decision came after FAFEN raised serious concerns with the electoral rolls being finalised for use in the coming general elections. The Preliminary Electoral Rolls 2012, according to FAFEN, had more than 11% voters that were not verified on the addresses listed on the rolls.
FAFEN urged the ECP to follow the Supreme Court’s directions that voter lists should be finalised after door-to-door verification.
Moreover, 20 million people who were eligible to vote were also not registered as voters.
The statement released on Wednesday claimed that trained FAFEN observers will monitor electoral processes outside the polling stations, despite the ECP’s refusal. Additionally, they said that the observers will monitor voting and counting processes if they are allowed by the Presiding Officers.
FAFEN says that ECP’s refusal to allow observation of voting and counting processes in the by-election is a serious blow to electoral transparency which the media and civil society must strive to uphold.
Furthermore, they said that the decision appears to be in conflict with the desires of the incoming Chief Election Commissioner, who has sought the support of civil society and the media for the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.
This is the first time since FAFEN’s inception six years ago that the ECP has refused the network from observing elections.
The ECP issued accreditation cards to approximately 20,000 FAFEN observers for monitoring voting and counting processes in the 2008 General Elections and the subsequent by-elections.