Elections in Pakistan in July 2018 carry the potential for remarkable changes for gender-inclusive and democratic developments of the country’s political and electoral system. As reported by local and international media, polls already display unexpected and novel features with regards to women’s expected electoral and political participation.
According to local newspapers and the Election Commission, the overall number of citizens who are able and willing to cast their vote in July has shown an upward trend by almost 23%, if compared to 2013. According to Geo.tv, this increase is directly related to the sharply increasing number of women and minorities who have registered as voters.
Simultaneously, ECP’s most recent data also reveals an overall increase in the number of women who have filed their nomination papers to run for a seat in one of the country’s assemblies. With more than 1,691 female candidates ready to contest in the elections as compared to 1,171 in the last round of voting, Pakistan seems to be taking an historical step towards a more gender-inclusive political and electoral system.
As an international organization that conducted Gender Election Observation Missions (GEOMs2008 and 2013, Gender Concerns International will continue to advocate for women’s inclusion in electoral and political procedures, and will follow future developments in Pakistani elections with keen interest.