EU observers voice concern over poll process

ISLAMABAD

Jul 29, 2018-

The EU expressed concern over a “notable lack in equality of opportunity” in Pakistan’s election, which was “not as good” as the country’s previous vote, according to observers who presented a preliminary assessment in Islamabad on Friday.

The EU’s chief observer Michael Gahler noted a “systematic effort to undermine the former ruling party” throughout the campaign, though he avoided naming any culprits.

Cricket hero Imran Khan has swept to an emphatic victory in the disputed election, according to official figures, though he will need to seek a coalition to form a government.

The pivotal election has been branded “Pakistan’s dirtiest”, after widespread claims in the months leading up to the vote that the powerful military was trying to fix the playing field in Khan’s favour.

“Our assessment of the election concludes that the electoral process 2018 is not as good as that of 2013,” Gahler told reporters in Islamabad, referring to the previous election, which was Pakistan’s first ever democratic transfer of civilian power.

Jean Lambert, head of the European Parliament election observation delegation, urged civilian oversight at polling stations.

Election authorities had granted military officers broad powers inside polling centres, further stirring fears of manipulation.

Published: 29-07-2018 08:46

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