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Rise and fall: Poll results


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UNEXPECTED it certainly was but the PML-N surging to a near-majority in the National Assembly in Saturday’s elections may more accurately be described as stunning. This was supposed to be the era of coalitions, of parties and voters too divided to allow any one voice to rise above all others. And this was the election and campaign in which Imran Khan and his PTI threatened to turn electoral logic on its head and make unprecedented gains, particularly given the wild swing in momentum towards the PTI in the last two weeks of the campaign. Extraordinarily, none of that materialised and it is the PML-N that has produced a wave of its own on the back of silent voters who turned out in droves to catapult the party to power once again.

Why were the predictions so far off, with no one, barring the most partisan of PML-N supporters, predicting the scale of Saturday’s success? At this early stage, three reasons seem to be responsible. First, the media, dominated by and representative of urban, middle-class Pakistan, drank a bit too much of the PTI Kool-Aid, warming to a message that resonated with a large section of the media and overlooking, or perhaps just cut off from, other important sections of the Pakistani electorate. In a one-man, one-vote system, emphasising one group’s aspirations can produce skewed analyses. Second, Imran Khan himself helped build the hype with his soaring promises of unprecedented success delivered in a brazenly confident manner and backed by impressive turnouts at his many rallies in the last days of the campaign. The emotional draw of Mr Khan’s message was in the end harder for analysts and the media to resist than the electorate itself. Third, the PML-N’s solid campaign both protected its base and appears to have achieved an important breakthrough for the party — the less well-to-do and poorer sections of the electorate. In making that breakthrough the PML-N appears to have benefited from the PPP’s abysmal performance over the past five years and the party’s non-campaign.

Once the dust settles, both winner and loser — the PML-N and PTI — will have much to be proud of. Despite being relentlessly attacked from all sides, the PML-N and Nawaz Sharif resolutely kept their focus on what needs to be done to solve grave national issues, a clear mandate being the first step towards that. And despite falling short of its own lofty expectations, the PTI has injected a much-needed dose of vigour and vitality into the democratic project.

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Comments (23) Closed

Sultan Alvi, Toronto, Canada May 14, 2013 07:20am
PTI has done exceptionally well in this election, and has become the second most popular party in the country after PML-N. Imran Khan won 3 seats out of 4 that he contested himself. PTI will form the government in KPK. Tsunami in Punjab has also come, but it is not visible to everyone yet. Noora Brothers were able to temporarily hold it through some clever rigging, etc.
Sultan Alvi, Toronto, Canada May 14, 2013 07:06am
PTI tsunami did arrive in KPK. Punjab is next in line. PPP and PML-Q also got almost wiped out by the great Khan's tsunami. PPP has just become a provincial party, confined to Sindh only. PML-Q is left with only 2 seats at the Federal level. ANP in KPK is also gone the dodo bird way. If this is not tsunami then what else is, please tell me? PTI's next target will be Punjab, InshaAllah. It is just a matter of little time. Gilani resigned because he has seen the writing on the wall. There is no future for PPP again at the national level. PPP has no credible leadership left to rebuild the party. NRO, corruption, crap governance for five years, plus Zarari's cunning brand of politics put the final nail in PPP's coffin.
Nadeem May 13, 2013 07:02am
Instead of making hue and cry on alleged poll rigging PTI should concede defeat and according to the democratic norms Imran Khan should voluntarily resign from the chairmanship of his party.
Manoj Kumar May 13, 2013 07:52am
Mr. Nawajsharif has fought election on the promise of good relation with India. Hope that the coming Govt. of Pakistan will pay heed to improve relation with India and decrease arms purchase race in this reason benifitting the poor people of India and Pak
M. Asghar May 13, 2013 10:00am
Imran's push for the youth was the not only the fundamental element in galvanising the compaign, but it will play a purging role in the political field in the future.
Kamal Gupta May 13, 2013 11:44am
What has been the vote share of the various parties? That may show a different picture of the level of support that each party has been able to get.
Vijay May 13, 2013 12:06pm
It shows parties inclined to religious right are favored by people of Pakistan
taimoor May 13, 2013 03:05pm
So Nawaz Sharif should have accepted defeated and resigned from his chairmanship in 2008? Interesting......
FR May 13, 2013 03:46pm
had Ns ever resigned???
ss May 13, 2013 03:50pm
has Nawaz Sharif or BB or Zardari or any other party chairman ever followed this "your so called norm"? how it became norm?
Husain Bulman May 13, 2013 03:55pm
Did Nawaz Sharif or Benazir ever resigned from their parties after their defeats...............
Chief May 13, 2013 06:47pm
Although election 2013 has many issues but it was good election as compare to the history of Pakistan, Good time of Pakistan and bad time of all those internal and external powers that manipulate Pakistan system has started, and fairly this credit goes to great Khan, Imran Khan. and Thanks great Khan.
Kausik May 13, 2013 07:13pm
People have spoken stunning results Long live Democracy in Pakistan.All parties and people should cooperate with nawaz Sharif and give a long honey moon phase for the success of democracy.
naseem May 13, 2013 07:24pm
after the tsunami failed to materialize, he should have resigned. Atleast Gilani did.
introspecteeve May 13, 2013 07:32pm
Isnt it ironic that those who pretend to be 'mature' now shouted of rigging in every alternate election in 90s.
Cynic May 13, 2013 08:14pm
What about the over 100 percent voter turnout?
M Aslam May 13, 2013 08:24pm
At least Punjab Governor started this good tradition. Now Imran has to follow this. He promised the he will always tell a truth. Now where is his moral values.
M Aslam May 13, 2013 08:25pm
Wherever PTI wins turnout is more than 100%
karamba May 13, 2013 08:26pm
Same old where Mr Nawaz will carry on where he left off. So much for a new Pakistan. The 'awam' didnt even leave my vote alone, they had to steal that too.
citizen May 13, 2013 11:03pm
its an election you either win or you lose, he was not holding public office where you need to resign if you don't deliver..
Syed Ahmed May 14, 2013 03:42am
I believe these elections are another NRO 2
Shahid Latif May 14, 2013 04:00am
Two parties are participating in the elections. One has to lost. why is it necessary to resign? PML(N) supporters are blaming Imran Khan and targeting him personally.. Its not fair. Even though he lost the elections he is still a Hero. Admit this fact
Jaleel Sabir May 14, 2013 04:15am
Most surprising result of the election is total rout of PPP from Punjab no political analyst or survey predicted it.