Pakistan is gearing up for its general elections in 2024, a crucial event that will shape the country’s political landscape. Scheduled for 8 February 2024, these elections will determine the members of the 16th National Assembly. This electoral process holds immense importance as it will determine the future leadership of the world’s fifth-most populous country.
Enlisted Political Parties by Election Commission Pakistan for General Elections:
Table of Contents
Over 160 political parties are participating in Pakistan’s upcoming general elections. The two major contenders are the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) which dominated the previous elections, is now fielding its candidates as Independents following a controversial Supreme Court ruling.
Nearly 18,000 candidates compete for 1,125 seats in the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies. PTI has announced 236 candidates competing under various election symbols. This marks a significant shift from previous trends, with independent candidates now comprising 63% of the total candidates, up from the usual 53%.
The rise in independent candidates accounts for an additional 10 percentage points, equivalent to approximately 500 more independent candidates compared to previous elections. This surge suggests a potential involvement of 264 additional independent candidates beyond PTI’s declared number.
Over 5,000 candidates compete for 266 seats in NA, including 4,806 men, 312 women, and two transgender individuals in the 2024 general elections.
Recent opinion polls of Gallup Pakistan indicate that PML-N has regained ground against PTI, mainly due to Nawaz Sharif’s return from exile and the Supreme Court’s decision regarding electoral symbols. Despite this, PTI remains the most-liked party with a 59% rating. Among political figures, Imran Khan leads with the highest positive approval rating of 60%.
Seat composition in National Assembly Pakistan
The National Assembly comprises 336 members:
- 266 are general seats elected through first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies.
- 60 seats are reserved for women, elected through proportional representation based on each party’s performance in the general seats in each province.
- 10 seats are reserved for non-Muslims, elected through proportional representation based on seats won by each party.
For the general elections in 2024, there will be 90,675 polling stations, and 276,398 polling booths will be set up in Pakistan. These stations are categorized into 25,320 conducted by males, 23,952 by females, and a combined 41,403. The number of male polling booths is 147,552, while for females, it’s 128,856.
Election ruling in Pakistan:
The Election Commission of Pakistan is the country’s election management body, established under Article 218 of the Constitution. Its responsibility is to plan and carry out elections to ensure honesty, fairness, and compliance with the law while preventing corrupt practices.
The 2024 election follows the same rules as the 2017 ACT under the strict supervision of ECP.
Total Vote casting population of 2024:
A total of 128 million people are registered to vote in the upcoming elections, compared to 106 million in 2018. Around 59.5 million are eligible female voters, making up approximately 46.13%, while around 69.5 million are eligible male voters, constituting about 53.87% of the total.
In a population of 241 million where voting eligibility begins at 18, two-thirds are under 30. The largest voting demographic (44%) is below the age of 35, emphasizing the importance of the youth vote. The next largest group, comprising 22.3% of the electorate, falls between the ages of 36 and 45.
Election Holidays Nationwide:
In preparation for the elections and for security preferences, the Education Department announced that all private and public schools, colleges, and universities will remain closed from February 6 to February 9. However, offices will observe only one holiday on the day of voting, Thursday, 8th of February.
General Election 2024 Results Announcement:
According to Section 98 of the Elections Act, the Election Commission of Pakistan is mandated to publish official election results within 14 days of the polling day. This deadline for the elections held on February 8th dictates that official results should be announced no later than Thursday, February 22nd.
Pakistan Current Situation:
The elections occur against a persistent economic crisis, characterized by soaring inflation nearing 30% and a depreciating currency. The incoming government will confront significant challenges in steering the country towards development amidst these conditions.
Pakistan narrowly avoided sovereign default last summer with a last-minute $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, the IMF’s support ends in March, and negotiating a new extended program will be critical for the incoming government. Balancing economic reforms with relief measures for the population and industry growth will be essential.
The run-up to the election has seen high political tensions. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan remains popular and has been in jail since August. His continued detention worries people about stability and might scare off foreign investors.
Without Khan leading, his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), might have trouble staying together and explaining its agenda to voters. This could affect how many people vote and who wins the election.
Pakistan’s military has an increasingly pervasive role in decision-making. Balancing the military’s interests while charting out independent policies will challenge the new government.
For public convenience, the Election Commission of Pakistan has released awareness videos aimed at preventing the rejection of ballot papers during the casting of votes in the 2024 election. Click to view.