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What just happened in the election in Pakistan? And what happens next?




Supporters of the Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf party welcomed their leader Imran Khan during an election campaign in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 21 July. Pakistan held general elections on July 25, but the first results were challenged. (AP)

Pakistan held only one national election on Wednesday, but ended in a controversial . A few hours after the election on election night began, the results from the polling stations stopped. Since then, major political parties have claimed systematic manipulation and rigging. Results, when available, suggest a victory for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)

The choice fell essentially on Pakistan's two largest political parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). and the PTI. Opinion polls showed that the two parties were caught in close competition. The unofficial results showed that PTI won about 110 out of 271 seats in the Pakistan National Assembly. PML-N has won about 64. Behind them is the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) with almost 40 seats.

Wednesday, Wednesday

PML-N has rejected the results The election has been rigged. Other major political parties around the country say the same thing. All argue that their campaign workers – party workers who must be present at the time of the vote – were expelled from the polling stations during the vote count. They also complained about the excessive delay in the publication of the preliminary results by the Pakistan Electoral Commission – planned by Pakistan's electoral law at 2 o'clock in the morning / morning after the election.

The electoral commission insists that the delay was a technical problem. It claims that the electronic result transmission system has collapsed, preventing the results from uploading. But the question of why the polling stations were driven out of the polling stations was not addressed.

There were allegations of military interference even before the election began

However, election day was not when the elections first became controversial. Long before the elections, there were widespread allegations that the Pakistani military was trying to win the PTI.

The PML-N was the loudest voice behind these allegations. In early July, Nawaz Sharif, head of the PML-N, was convicted in a corruption case for amassing assets that went beyond all possibilities. PML-N claimed that the trial and the outcome of the case had been influenced by the Pakistani military.

Sharif claimed that he was attacked by the military for asserting civil supremacy. In the run-up to the elections, the PML-N also fully complained of pre-rigging in favor of PTI by initiating targeted transplant cases and threats / pressure on PML-N members to leave the party.

What happens next?

The situation in Pakistan is fluid. It is clear, however, that the events of Wednesday night overshadowed the legitimacy of the entire electoral process and heralded a serious crisis. In the future, these scenarios seem possible:

1. The PTI government will take power in the midst of a strong protest movement

A likely outcome of the crisis is that the PTI, led by cricketeer Imran Khan, will form a government. Among the available seats, Khan is well positioned to become Pakistan's next prime minister. But the allegations of the big parties to the vote could grow together into a protest movement. In this scenario, the PTI-led government would take office and the opposition parties would simultaneously maintain a strong protest movement to put the new government under pressure for the foreseeable future.

. 2 Protests lead to repeated elections

This is a plausible but somewhat less likely outcome. The political parties led by the PML-N may join forces in a protest movement to boycott the newly elected parliament and call for a new election. If this happens, it will dramatically exacerbate the crisis in the country, as there are no clear rules or precedents to enforce a call for repeated elections.

But such a call would require profound coordination between all major political parties PTI. Since all parties did not suffer equally from the outcome of the elections – and the PPP is in a strong position to easily form a provincial government – there is no obvious reason to believe that they would work together.

What happens in Pakistan? will not stay in Pakistan

The impending political turmoil will raise many questions about the role of the Pakistani military during the election. Pakistan has a long history of military policy. But it is unclear how the military will react. When it comes to the history of Pakistan, the crisis is likely to lead to more – not less – military interference.

The military, more and more controversial, can undermine Pakistan's internal security, which is threatened by a series of insurgent challengers. like the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic State. For now, the military enjoys a license for internal security. Key political actors generally do not question military actions, let alone criticize them. That could change.

And Wednesday's elections are likely to worry the two major international powers most interested in the election: the United States and China. The South Asian policy of the Trump government depends crucially on Pakistani support. The US government has sought to elicit much in the cooperation – the start of a new domestic crisis in Pakistan makes such cooperation rather unlikely.

The Chinese, on the other hand, will be concerned about how Pakistan's domestic policy will affect Turkey's belt / road projects through Pakistan. The Chinese wanted a strong government that would immediately focus on completing these projects. The emerging crisis would make China very nervous.

Asfandyar Mir is a Doctoral Student in Political Science at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. Student at the Center for International Security and Collaboration at Stanford University .addEventListener ("DOMContentLoaded", function () {});
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