Electoral Dispute Resolution Program
IFES’ Electoral Dispute Resolution Program endeavors to provide technical assistance to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for improvement of Pakistan’s election dispute resolution mechanisms.
Improving Handling of Pre-Poll Election Complaints
Beginning in November 2007 IFES began providing advice to the ECP to improve the effectiveness of the ECP’s handling of pre-poll election complaints. IFES assisted ECP’s publication and distribution of a Complaints Handbook, which was distributed widely to political parties, stakeholders, and made available on the ECP’s website. In addition, IFES worked with the ECP to implement a centralized complaints tracking system allowing it to track total complaints prior to the February 2008 polls for the first time. Under the new centralized tracking system aggrieved stakeholders, during the pre-poll period, could lodge a complaint with the ECP using a standardized form.
IFES also further assisted the ECP in informing the public on election dispute resolution. An Election Dispute Resolution pamphlet was published and distributed to stakeholders and the media. It acted as a resource for understanding the nation’s election dispute resolution process, with a specific emphasis on the resolution of challenges to election results.
Election Tribunal Monitoring Project
The Election Tribunal Monitoring Project attempts to strengthen formal dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve challenges to election results. In January 2008, IFES began a study, tracking and monitoring challenges to election results, known as Election Petitions. With the assistance of six Pakistani trained lawyers, this first-of-its-kind study, measured the effectiveness and ability of Election Tribunals’ to dispose of Election Petitions within the statutorily defined period for resolution.
The Election Tribunal Monitoring project collected both quantitative and qualitative data and produced a Preliminary Report and a Final Project Report—also available in Urdu. In an effort to include national stakeholder input into the Final Project Report, the Annex to the Final Report includes written recommendations by stakeholders including civil society organizations and private citizens for improvements to the Election Petition processes. For a summary of the Election Tribunal Monitoring Project findings see the Executive Summary Booklet to the Final Project Report; also available in Urdu and Sindhi.
Other Program Activities
In December 2008, before a joint sitting of the Pakistan National Assembly and Senate’s Committees on Law, justice and Human Rights, IFES presented Election Tribunal Monitoring Project’s findings.
A substantial component of the program included public outreach and education on election dispute resolution. As part of that effort IFES conducted a media workshop on improved reporting on election disputes in April 2008 and held a national media briefing in October 2008 to present the Election Tribunal Monitor Project’s preliminary findings.
The Electoral Dispute Resolution Program is scheduled to run through April 2009.
The Electoral Disputes Resolution Program is funded as the Post-Election Community Based Mediation and Adjudication Program by the U.S State Department’s, Bureau of Democracy, Labor and Human Rights. Any opinions expressed or analysis resulting from the program’s activities are those of IFES and its authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion or policy of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Government.
- Election Tribunal Monitoring Project – Executive Summary Booklet to the Final Report. English – Urdu – Sindhi
- Election Tribunal Monitoring Project – Final Project Report, January 2009. English – Urdu
- Election Tribunal Monitoring Project – Annex to the Final Project Report. English
- Election Tribunal Monitoring Project – Preliminary Report, August 2008. English