Election Oversight, Research and Reforms
TDEA-FAFEN raised the standards of citizens’ election observation in Pakistan during the General Elections process in 2013 through its project Long Term Election Observation and Oversight (LTEOOP). TDEA’s nationwide methodology was based on national election laws and procedures of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Pakistan’s ratification in 2010 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the 2012 Declaration of Global Principles and Code of Conduct for Non-Partisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations. FAFEN’s work has significantly contributed to an environment where citizens and political parties have asserted for an improved enforcement of election laws and regulations. the detailed research helped cement FAFEN’s claim as a key election observer group, the follow-up advocacy meetings with political parties and public pronouncement and media appearances and coverage helped lay out the framework for a more informed debate on issues related to elections.
TDEA-FAFEN’s push for meaningful electoral reforms were significantly helped by the neutral and objective observer credentials the network has built over the course of its existence in general and over the period of the LTEOOP project in particular.
More than 360 district and constituency long-term observers (D-LTOs and C-LTOs) monitored the pre-election preparations and political campaign nationwide, and more than 130 D-LTOs monitored the post-election environment, including resolution of election result disputes. More than 40,000 short-term observers (STOs) on Election Day, in every constituency monitored procedures during the voting, ballot counting and election result consolidation processes. An unprecedented Election Information Management System (EIMS) was developed for frequent reporting of election-related observations to the public and election stakeholders and enabled robust advocacy for enforcement of election law and regulations as well as long-term post-election reform.
TDEA’s unprecedented election observation effort in 2013 involves more than 40,000 trained, non-partisan citizens in monitoring the Election Day in polling stations, with an average of 150 short-term observers (STOs) in each National Assembly constituency. All TDEA- FAFEN observers are accredited by the ECP and adhere to the ECP Code of Conduct for National Observers. They do not interfere with voters or the administration of elections.
All TDEA- FAFEN observation checklists are based on the Representation of the Peoples Act 1976, Conduct of Elections Rules 1977, and ECP handbooks for election officials. All election statements and reports are non-partisan and based on aggregated data and information from observers in a constituency or around the country. TDEA- FAFEN, STOs are not authorized to speak to the media or make any public statements based on their individual observations.
FAFEN has emerged as one of the major stakeholder in the public and political discourse on the quality of general elections 2013 and electoral reforms. Having been quoted by all parties on both sides of the political divide, FAFEN’s election observation findings and analysis have proved to be authoritative, undisputed and non-partisan.
FAFEN, at the same time, understand the limitations of capacity of political organization and its heavy reliance on the state institutions to look for solutions, which mostly reinforce the status quo through cosmetic measures. Electoral reforms, therefore, is a test of the capability of the political system to understand public aspirations and respond to them through meaningful changes to protect their rights and entitlements.