Voting for 2018 general elections across country underway

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Voting for the landmark 2018 general elections is underway on Wednesday across the country during which the voters will exercise their right to vote to elect 270 members of the National Assembly and a total of 570 members of four provincial assemblies for the next five-year term (2018-2023).

The polling started at 8am in the morning and will continue till 6pm in the evening without any break. It is the first time that the polling time has been extended by one hour for the convenience of voters.

There is public holiday today so that the people could exercise their right to vote without any hindrance.

National and provincial assemblies seats

Of the 272 seats of National Assembly, elections is being held on 270 seats. Elections on two National Assembly constituencies have been postponed.

As regards the four provincial assemblies, electionsis bein g conducted on 570 seats against the total tally of 577.

In this regard, over 12,500 candidates are in the run for the seats of National and provincial assemblies. According to the electoral rolls, 105.96 million voters are eligible to cast the vote. Of these, 59.22 million are male and 46.73 million are females.

Number of polling stations

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has set up 85,307 polling stations across the country. Around 20,000 polling stations have been declared sensitive and CCTV cameras have been installed inside and outside all the sensitive polling stations.

ECP has issued special directives to the polling staff according to which senior presiding officers will serve the same duty as that of assistant presiding officer (APO). He will also be the acting presiding officer and will sign form 45 and 46.

In case of any error, both presiding and senior officer will be held accountable.

The senior officers will keep notice whether the vote has been cast in ballot box or not. It will be better that the APO keep the CNIC of voters with himself until the vote casting procedure completes.

Security arrangements

Pakistan Army has deployed troops across the country in respective areas of responsibility to provide mandated assistance to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding free, fair and transparent Elections 2018.

According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the troops would coordinate with other law enforcement agencies and local administration for ensuring safe and secure environment on the polling day.

At least 450,000 policemen and three hundred thousand army troops are deployed while as many as 750,000 polling staffers are performing duty .

The Commission appealed the nation to come out on the polling day and exercise their legitimate right to vote for strengthening the democracy.

No prime minister in the country’s history has ever completed a full five-year term in office. If this election goes smoothly, it will be the second civilian to civilian handover of power after a full term. The first was in 2013.

In the four provinces and at the centre, the fight will mainly be between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is also expected to pick up seats across the country, as is the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of right-wing religious parties.

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