Pakistani general election, 1997

Pakistani general election, 1997

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Pakistani general election, 1997'
Start a new discussion about 'Pakistani general election, 1997'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
A general election was held in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 on 3 February 1997 to elect the National Assembly of Pakistan
National Assembly of Pakistan
The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

 and the four provincial assemblies
Subdivisions of Pakistan
The administrative units of Pakistan consist of four provinces, one federal capital territory, and a group of federally-administered tribal areas...

. The election took place after the previous Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

 (PPP) government of Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

 was dismissed by President
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 Farooq Leghari
Farooq Leghari
Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari was the eighth President of Pakistan from November 14, 1993 until December 2, 1997...

 for alleged corruption and misrule.

The Pakistan Muslim League
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
The Pakistan Muslim League is a conservative political party in Pakistan, affiliated with Western conservatism...

 (PML-N) of Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani conservative politician and steel magnate who served as 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993, and from February 1997 to October 12, 1999...

 won a landslide victory in the election. Sharif was sworn in as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

 on 17 February. Voter turnout was 36.0%.

Background


The PPP won the largest number of seats in the 1993 election
Pakistani general election, 1993
General elections were held in Pakistan on 6 October 1993. The election took place after both the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan resigned to resolve a power struggle between them. Although the Pakistan Muslim League won the largest number of votes, the Pakistan Peoples...

 and Benazir Bhutto became prime minister at the head of a coalition
Coalition
A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant...

 government. However on the 5 November 1996 president Leghari, a former ally of Bhutto, dismissed the government 2 years early for alleged corruption and abuse of power. The allegations included financial mismanagement, failing to stop police killings, destroying judicial independence and violating the constitution
Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan. Known as the Constitution of 1973, it was drafted by the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and, following additions by the opposition parties, was approved by the legislative assembly on April 10, 1973...

. A number of PPP party members were detained including Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari is the 11th and current President of Pakistan and the Co-Chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party . He is also the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who served two nonconsecutive terms as Prime Minister....

 who was accused of taking commissions for arranging official deals.

A former speaker
Speaker (politics)
The term speaker is a title often given to the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body. The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the...

 and member of the PPP Miraj Khalid was appointed interim prime minister. The National Assembly and provincial assemblies were dissolved and elections called for the 3 February 1997. Bhutto denied all the charges against herself and petitioned the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court is the apex court in Pakistan's judicial hierarchy, the final arbiter of legal and constitutional disputes. The Supreme Court has a permanent seat in Islamabad. It has number of Branch Registries where cases are heard. It has a number of de jure powers which are outlined in the...

 to reverse her dismissal. However the court ruled in January that there was sufficient evidence for the dismissal to be justified legally.

Campaign


Expectations in the lead up to the election were that up to 90 people, possibly including Bhutto and Sharif, might be prevented from standing in the election due to the caretaker governments campaign against corruption. However by the end of December 1996 the government was forced to acknowledge that they were unable to find sufficient evidence to act against leading politicians. As a result the election once again became mainly a contest between the PPP and the PML-N.

Over 6,000 candidates stood in the election, with 1,758 standing for the National Assembly and 4,426 for the four provincial assemblies. Major campaign issues included corruption, the economy, ethnic and religious conflicts and growing terroism. However there was little enthusiasm for the fourth election in 8 years with polls showing only about 20% would vote. Predictions of a challenge by a new anti-corruption party, the Movement for Justice, founded by former cricketer
Cricketer
A cricketer is a person who plays the sport of cricket. Official and long-established cricket publications prefer the traditional word "cricketer" over the rarely used term "cricket player"....

 Imran Khan
Imran Khan
Imran Khan Niazi is a Pakistani politician and former Pakistani cricketer, playing international cricket for two decades in the late twentieth century. After retiring, he entered politics...

, faded as Khan attempted to fend off personal attacks. Most forecasts expected Sharif's PML-N to win the election, with them drawing larger crowds than the PPP and appearing to be supported by the army. Opinion poll
Opinion poll
An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a poll is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence...

s showed the PML-N leading the PPP by about 40% to 20%.

Results


The results saw the PML-N win a landslide victory, winning by the largest margin since the 1977 election
Pakistani general election, 1977
General elections were held in Pakistan on 7 March 1977. The result was a victory for the Pakistan People's Party, which won 155 of the 200 elected seats, including 19 that were uncontested as the Pakistan National Alliance boycotted the Balochistan elections due to ongoing military...

. The PPP came second with only 18 seats while Khan's Movement for Justice failed to win any seats. The turnout, at around 35%, was the lowest ever in the history of elections in Pakistan.
Parties Votes % Seats +/-
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
The Pakistan Muslim League is a conservative political party in Pakistan, affiliated with Western conservatism...

8,751,793 45.9 137
64
Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

4,152,209 21.8 18
Haq Parast
Haq Parast
Haq Parast is a group of politicians closely related to the third largest political party in Pakistan Muttahida Quami Movement or simply Muttahida....

764,207 4.0 12 New
Pakistan Muslim League (J)
Pakistan Muslim League (J)
The Pakistan Muslim League was a political party in Pakistan established in 1993. It merged with PML-Q in 2004.It is one of the factions of the original Pakistan Muslim League, named "J" after Junejo...

624,286 3.3 0
Awami National Party
Awami National Party
The Awami National Party is an Pashtun nationalist, socialist, centre-left political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International...

357,002 1.9 10
7
Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto)
Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto)
The Pakistan Peoples Party is a political party in Pakistan and one of the breakaway factions of the main Pakistan Peoples Party. The party is currently headed by Ghinwa Bhutto, the widow of Murtaza Bhutto....

377,228 2.0 1 New
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam is a political party in Pakistan. It formed a combined government in national elections in 2002 and 2008...

 (F)
325,910 1.7 2 New
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is a political party in Pakistan. PTI was founded by former Pakistani cricket captain and philanthropist Imran Khan. The party's slogan is "Justice, Humanity and Self Esteem".-Founding:...

314,820 1.7 0 New
Balochistan National Party
Balochistan National Party
The Balochistan National Party or Balochistan National Party is a political party in Balochistan, Pakistan...

124,754 0.7 3 New
National Peoples Party
National Peoples Party
The National Peoples Party is a political party in Pakistan most active in the province of Sindh and southern parts of Punjab. It was founded in 1986 by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi after falling out with Benazir Bhutto and leaving her Pakistan Peoples Party.In the 2008 Pakistani general elections the...

 (Khar)
85,121 0.4 1 0
Balochistan National Movement 72,354 0.4 0 New
Jamhoori Wattan Party 66,128 0.3 2 0
Muslim Ittehad Pakistan 49,601 0.3 0 New
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam is a political party in Pakistan. It formed a combined government in national elections in 2002 and 2008...

 (S)
48,838 0.3 0 New
Pakistan Democratic Party
Pakistan Democratic Party
The Pakistan Democratic Party is a political party in Pakistan.At the last legislative elections, 20 October 2002, the party won 0.3% of the popular vote and 1 out of 272 elected members....

47,153 0.2 0 New
Muslim League (Qayyum)
Muslim League (Qayyum)
Muslim League , was a party created by Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan when he split with the Council Muslim League to run for the 1970 Pakistani general elections....

37,723 0.2 0 New
Pakistan Awami Party 31,615 0.2 0 New
30 other parties 88,429 0.5 0
Independents 1,482,033 7.4 21
5
Invalid/blank votes 448,829
Total 19,516,716 100 207 0
Source: Nohlen et al

Aftermath


Nawaz Sharif described the results as reflecting the countries desire for an end to chaos. Benazir Bhutto had threatened to not recognise the results if the PPP lost, but despite alleging that election officials had rigged the election by filling in extra ballots, she did not call for protests, saying that Pakistan needed political stability. International observors from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and the Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

 said the election met basic conditions but would not describe it as 'free and fair'.

Nawaz Sharif was confirmed as prime minister by the National Assembly receiving 177 votes against 16 for the PPP candidate Aftab Shaban Mirani
Aftab Shaban Mirani
Aftab Shaban Mirani is a politician from Shikarpur, Sindh, Pakistan. The former defence minister is now a representative for the NA-202 constituency.- Family :Aftab Shahban Mirani's wife Ms Safia Aftab Mirani died on October 5, 2007...

. He took office on the 18 February with a new cabinet named on the 26 February.