ISLAMABAD: The number of votes rejected in the 2018 general elections was 1.67 million, 11.7pc more that the 1.5 million rejected in the 2013 polls, according to a report released by Free and Fair Elections Network (Fafen) on Friday.

The report says the increase in the number of rejected votes is observed in all four provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Read: Rejected votes exceed victory margin in many constituencies

In the ICT area, the number of polls rejected from the count are more than double those in the 2013 elections.

There was a 40pc increase in the number of rejected votes in Balochistan, 30.6pc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, 7pc in Sindh and 6.6pc in Punjab.

Number of rejected votes has more than doubled in ICT compared to 2013 elections, Fafen report says

The ballots excluded from the count surpassed the margin of victory in 49, or 18.1pc, of the 270 National Assembly constituencies where elections were held

Among these National Assembly constituencies, 26 are in Punjab, 11 in Sindh, six each in KP and Balochistan.

Similarly, the number of ballots excluded from the count exceeded the margin of victory in 120, or 21pc, of the 570 provincial assembly constituencies where elections were held.

Of these, 120 provincial assembly constituencies, 58 are in Punjab, 24 in KP, 22 in Sindh and 16 in Balochistan.

Of the 49 National Assembly constituencies where the number of excluded ballots exceeded the margin of victory, 21 were won by PTI, 11 by PML-N, six by PPP, three by the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), two by the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and one each by the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamhoori Watan Party and PML-Q. Independents won two of the constituencies.

Among the 58 constituencies of Punjab Assembly which witnessed the same phenomenon, PML-N won 26 seats, PTI 23, PPP two and PML-Q one. The remaining were won by independents.

In KP’s 24 constituencies, 11 were won by PTI, seven by MMA, two each by PML-N and PPP and one by ANP. An independent won one seat.

In Sindh’s 22 constituencies, nine were claimed by the PPP, six by GDA, four by PTI, two by Muttahida Qaumi Movement and one by MMA.

In Balochistan’s 16 constituencies, six were won by BAP, three each by PTI and MMA and one each by PML-N and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.

Two candidates in Balochistan also won these seats.

Under section 95(5) of the Elections Act, 2017, returning officers are to recount the ballot papers at one or more polling stations in a constituency if a contesting candidate requests so in writing and the margin of victory is less than 5pc of the total votes polled in the constituency, or 10,000, whichever is lesser.

According to the provincial results of the 2018 general elections, 79 national and 169 provincial assembly constituencies have a margin of victory of less than 5pc of the total votes polled or 10,000.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2018

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