Comprehensive electoral reforms needed, says Asif Ali Zardari


Islamabad February 24, 2015: Electoral rigging and horse trading at multiple levels is a major issue that lies at the root of manipulated power transfer and needs to be addressed comprehensively in a holistic manner instead of looking for piecemeal solutions.

This has been stated by former president Asif Ali Zardari while commenting on the proposal to amend the Constitution to conduct senate elections through show of hand instead of secret ballot.

It is good that the government seems to have realized that horse trading in senate elections is a serious issue that has done great disservice to the Parliament and political processes and needs to be addressed, he said.

However, rigging in elections and horse trading take place at multiple levels and need to be comprehensively addressed, he said.

One hopes that the apparent realization on the part f the government to address horse trading will not be a political gimmickry but a first step towards comprehensive electoral reforms, he said.

If the government is serious it should invite all political parties to decide on how best to prevent electoral rigging not only in the Senate but also in the National Assembly, the provincial Assemblies and now also in the local bodies polls, he said.

We recently witnessed the near break down of the civilian and political structures due to the demonstrations and protests against fraud and rigging in the 2013 general elections, the former President said. The parliament and the government were saved from total collapse by the unprecedented unity and commitment of political but it should not lull us into believing that issues in electoral fraud will not rear their ugly heads in the future, he said.

Electoral reforms and preventing horse trading should be addressed by all parties together and not by the government alone. The government should therefore convene a meeting of all political parties to address horse trading in senate elections as well as electoral fraud and rigging of all types including those recently agitated by Imran Khan’s Tehrik Insaf.

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