EU mission to observe Pakistan elections in July

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Brussels, June 15 (IANS) An European Union electoral observation mission led by Michael Gahler, a German conservative in the European Parliament, plans to observe the July 25 national and provincial assemblies’ elections in Pakistan, the EU’s diplomatic service said on Friday.

A group of nine EU election analysts will arrive in Pakistan on June 22 and stay in the country until the end of the electoral process while another 60 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country, will arrive a few days later, the European External Action Service said in a press release.

The EU Election Observation Missions were also deployed to Pakistan in 2002, 2008 and 2013 while an Election Follow-up Mission was sent in 2016, Efe news reported.

The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said that with these elections, “Pakistan is expected to witness an unprecedented second consecutive democratic transition of an elected civilian government, therefore contributing to the consolidation of the direct link between Pakistani citizens and their representatives”.

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Heading the mission, Gahler hoped that the “observation will again provide a meaningful contribution to the electoral and democratic process in Pakistan”.

After the general elections, the mission will hold a press conference in Islamabad to present its preliminary findings while the final report including recommendations for future electoral processes will be presented later.

Over 100 million people are eligible to vote in the elections in July to elect 342 lawmakers, 272 of whom will be elected directly while 60 seats are reserved for women and another 10 for religious minorities.

The members of the country’s four provincial assemblies will also be elected.

The current ruling party of Pakistan, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which secured an absolute majority in 2013, ended its five-year term on May 31, only the second time in the country’s history since its independence in 1947 that a government completed its mandate.

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–IANS

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