The buzz of election 2018 superseded our expectations and now we can discuss the formation of a brand-new government in process!
300 registered parties & 106 million registered voters!
With over 300 registered political parties, and nearly 106 million registered voters, the electoral process of Pakistan is a colossal task. In 2018, out of the total number of registered voters, nearly 47 million are females; this was a pleasant surprise when compared to the previous election. The figures indicate approximately 23 percent increase in the numbers as compared to the 2013 election when the total number of voters was approximately 86 percent.
Most people just choose to vote for the party or political candidate that they are supporting but very few actually know how the entire process works. This is a huge and extremely complicated procedure, so we have taken it upon us to simplify it as much as possible.
Structure of our parliamentary democracy
Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy, meaning that the parliament is divided into two houses to prevent one party from getting absolute majority and hence incorporating democratic consensus as different political forces need to cooperate and compromise for the sake of the nation. Certain aspects of Pakistan’s 1973 constitution seem to have been derived from the practices, understandings and methods perfected in Westminster.
In Pakistan the mere pool of candidates makes the elections very challenging, with over 1,2000 candidates contesting for 270 national and 570 provincial assembly seats. So if you voted this year, you will recall that there were two ballot papers; one green and one white (one for the national assembly and one for the provincial assembly). On 25th July 2018, when Pakistani’s voted, they voted to pick one member from each constituency hence electing the 270 MNA’s (Members of National Assembly). Elections were held for the provincial level seats too, enabling people to elect MPA’s (Members of the Provincial Assembly), giving 570 candidates powers in the respective provincial assemblies, to bring a positive change in their respective province.
Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf, more commonly known as PTI won the elections by becoming the single largest party at the national level both in terms of popular vote and in terms of seats. At the provincial level, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) became the largest party in Punjab, PTI became the largest party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa again, Sindh belonged to Pakistan Peoples Party and the newly-formed Balochistan Awami Party became the largest party in Balochistan. Once the MNA’s and MPA’s are elected, the other essential posts such are filled.
Formation of a new government
The posts of ministers, Prime Minister and President are the next crucial step in the electoral process. Here the common man doesn’t directly vote, instead the MNA’a and MPA’s the commoners entrusted with their lives, play a vital role in filling some of the crucial positions. The President is more of a symbolic post in Pakistan, most of the decision making power lies with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the head of the government, and is elected by the members of the national assembly. The President is elected by the Electoral College which consists of both houses of Parliament alongside the four provincial assemblies.
The Prime Minister chooses his cabinet, a formal body consisting of government officials, who have their respective ministries to look after. This cabinet is the backbone of the country.
Throughout Pakistan’s history, the civilian rule has been dominated by frail coalitions. The term coalition government refers to a cabinet of a parliamentary government where several political parties work together. This is mostly because no one party can achieve a clean sweep and hence a majority in the parliament. Very rarely can a party claim clear cut support across the country as the power of most parties is region based. The party with the prevalent number of seats gets the first chance at forming a coalition.
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