Friday, February 22, 2008

Pakistan People's Party's National Character

In addition to winning the largest number of seats in Pakistan's National Assembly, Pakistan People's Party has demonstrated its national appeal by winning seats in all four provincial legislatures. In spite of its losses and third place finish, PML(Q) is the only other party with this distinction. All of the other parties, including the PML(N) with the second place finish, have won seats in only one or two Pakistani provinces.
The table on the right shows the respective positions of all the parties at the federal and provincial levels. There are several other observations that should be made based on Pakistan Election Commission's data.
1. Pro-Musharraf parties(Q,MQM, Functional League, PPP Sherpao) together got
more votes than either PPP or PML(N). According to ECP statistics, former ruling alliance comprising Pakistan Muslim League, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan
Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) and Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) secured 40% votes of the total while expected ruling parties PPPP and PML-N got 37% and 23% votes respectively.
2. Teogether, the pro-Musharraf forces won the second largest number of seats after PPP.
3.Out of total votes cast, the former ruling coalition received 10,844,233 votes followed by PPPP with 10,055,491 votes and PML-N with 6,240,343 votes.
4. The religious parties, represented by the MMA, suffered the worst ever defeat in Pakistan's history.

The fact that the PPP, the largest single party in the National Assembly, truly represents all parts of the nation is good for Pakistan's federation. The final result appears to be a split verdict: Without giving an absolute majority to any one party, the people want the politicians of all parties to work together to serve the nation rather than dissipate their energies fighting each other. The defeat of the right wing religious parties explodes the myth that Pakistan is in danger of falling prey to the fundamentalists.

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