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Pakistan elections not 'free and fair': EU

11 July, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Chief Observer European Union Michael Gahler speaks during a press conference at a local hotel.
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ISLAMABAD: The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Pakistan on Wednesday claimed that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) did not fulfil its responsibilities with honesty during the general elections 2013.

Addressing a press conference, EU Election Observation Mission chief Michael Gahler said the EU mission remained in Pakistan from March 3 to June 4 to monitor the elections. He expressed dissatisfaction over the Election Commission of Pakistan and elections 2013 and said the ECP failed to fulfil its responsibilities in the true manner. Gahler also claimed that the returning officers changed the polling staff in some constituencies before voting.

"A strong democratic commitment was demonstrated in the 2013 elections. Despite escalating militant attacks, and procedural shortcomings, the electoral process progressed with high levels of competition, a marked increase in voter participation, and overall acceptance of the outcome. However, fundamental problems remain with the legal framework and the implementation of certain provisions, leaving future processes vulnerable to malpractice," Gahler said.

All contesting candidates were not given equal right to contest the elections, he said, adding that there were complaints that the names of women voters were omitted from voters' lists. He said the mission has no evidence of any interference in the electoral process by the intelligence agencies; however, certain institutions have crossed their limits in the discharge of their duties.

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