Stories about elections

The flawed argument in favour of reserved seats for women

Imran Khan recently kicked up yet another melee in Pakistan’s media when he declared that he would have women contest in elections rather than enter the National Assembly (NA) on reserved seats. Before weighing the plausibility of the argument, many were quick to jump the bandwagon of unqualified criticism simply because it was Khan who said so. For the uninformed, women in Pakistan’s National Assembly currently have 60 reserved seats. How exactly are these seats filled in? Well, since the seats are allocated to each political party based on their proportion in the legislature, the said political parties have the sole authority to figure out who will ...

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By-elections: PML-N looks like the party to beat!

By-elections are often ignored as nothing more than parties reclaiming a seat they had lost to some unfortunate incident or disqualification. In the last five years multiple by-elections have taken place and in most cases they have produced nothing exciting or out of the ordinary. However, yesterday’s by-election on nine seats across Pakistan was anything but ordinary. With nine seats up for grabs, including two National Assembly (NA) seats and six Provincial Assembly seats in Punjab, and one Provincial Assembly seat in Sindh, the by-election mattered given that they were held barely 120 days or so before the general ...

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Wake up Pakistan! This is your war

Pakistan is out of step with the rest of the world – a recent poll showed it was the only country to prefer Romney over Obama and is now proved to be on “the wrong side of history”.  Obama’s win on November 6 for a second term has been recognised by every country but Pakistan as a historic decision that is good for the peace and security of the Middle East.  The international community has welcomed the election result with much relief as, unlike his Republican opponent, ex- Governor Romney, President Obama will not engage in unilateral military action and will ...

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President Obama for another 4 years: Let the rhetoric continue!

On November 6, Barack Obama made it into the history books one more time. He has been re-elected as president of the United States for a second term despite high unemployment numbers, at a time when the majority of Americans are very uncertain about their futures. The last time re-election in the face of such dismal unemployment rates was accomplished in 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt took the presidency for the second time. America is increasingly becoming multicultural and ethnically diverse. In 2008, Hispanics, African-Americans and other minorities turned the tide for democrats in most states, showing overwhelming support for the first ...

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Learning from US electoral experience

Spending three weeks in the most important swing state of the Unites States — Ohio — and observing the recently-held presidential election campaign was a golden opportunity for me as I got to study how different the US election is from our own. The month was as important for candidates as it was for the voters. To voters, the election was not merely about voting but about electing a president for the next four years that would redress a number of their national issues such as job opportunities, health care and social security. The greatest thing I observed that is ...

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I am an average Pakistani; would you like to hear more?

I am a typical Pakistani and am dying to tell the world who I really am, but no one is ready to listen. In the scheme of things, I could have been born anytime late 1930s onwards, and am gainfully (or rather painfully) employed. Whereas the world is moving towards nano technology, my single greatest skill is that I manage to ‘exist amidst the chaos’. This chaos is not of my making, but the wise say that I deserve it, since I have given my vote to the wrong people. They must be right! Mind you, I have not seen the ...

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Are warlords, pirates, famine and poverty a Somalia of the past?

After years of transitional and ineffective administrations, Somalia’s new federal government has rekindled hope especially for any Somalian from my generation. All we have seen is Somalia in a limbo since 1991, with the world waiting and watching how much worse it could get for us. In what is a historical event, Somalia’s new federal parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud an academic and activist, to become the country’s next president. The defeat of Sharif Sheikh Ahmed who was leading the transitional government, in what was a tight competition; Somalians see a sign of changing times. Mohamud’s election as Somalia’s president is ...

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Can democracy still be unfair if everyone votes?

Mirza is a very good friend of mine but sometimes he just talks utter nonsense. Yesterday evening I was extremely blunt when he told me that he didn’t understand democracy. “Are you in your senses, Mirza?” I was shocked. “Absolutely,” he was calm. “Think again, Mirza,” I couldn’t believe what he had said, “Democracy, which is the best political system in the world; the system that offers solutions to all our problems; the system due to which common people like you reach the corridors of power; the system–” “Yes,” he interrupted me, “I don’t understand it.” My voice rising, I said, “So what do you want, dictatorship? ...

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Can the PPP actually win the next general elections?

President Zardari, during his visit to interior Sindh, claimed that his party will win the next general elections and will form governments in all the provinces. Political commentators are discussing  several theories to explain this rather surprising statement by the President. Some believe that the outcome of the by-election in NA-151, where Abdul Qadir Gilani defeated Shaukat Bosan, has given President Zardari this confidence. According to others, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson is banking on a divided opposition to win the next elections. Regardless of the basis of his claim, it has triggered a debate in Pakistan and most people seem to ...

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Democracy in Egypt

Prior to Mohammed Morsi’s win, the Egyptian Army staged many coups. The dissolution of the Egyptian parliament, consisting of elected leaders, who had come to power after an extensive voting process spanning three months, was by far the most effective one yet. One might ask why this brash manipulation of the electoral process occurred on the military’s part. The answer to this lies in analysing the post-run-off situation in Egypt in terms of power, as perceived by the military. President Morsi’s inauguration, perhaps, will mean disaster for the old elite; the old guard, the Edmund Burkes of Egypt and the military ...

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