Polls Close, Counting Begins in Pakistan Elections

The Post has a great article about the trials and tribulations in the Pakistani elections, as well as a cool photo gallery, which you can access here.

The article discusses several problems that Americans can relate with, such as long lines and delays in figuring out who actually won.

“A final counting of the votes is several days away. Early indicators pointed to thin support at the polls for the ruling party of President Pervez Musharraf in several key urban hubs. Reports from around the country also suggested that security concerns could result in low voter turnout, particularly in urban areas, for the long awaited elections to Pakistan’s 342-seat National Assembly. Originally scheduled to take place on Jan. 8, the vote was postponed after the assassination of opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on Dec. 27, and has been mired in controversy amid fears of vote rigging and violence.

Early this morning in the densely populated military enclave of Rawalpindi, traffic on the northeastern city’s busy Circular Road flowed at a fast clip outside a men’s polling station at a public high school, but the flow of voters inside was snarled for more than an hour after election officials opened the polls late. “I arrived about an hour ago and I have been unable to vote because they did not open the polls and the election officials are saying that they do not have the list with my name on it,” said Hafiz ur-Rehman, a supporter of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party.

The Times of India expresses concerns about the government rigging the election.

Even with counting in progress, the opposition parties were fearful of rigging. If that happens, it will bring in more complications as indicated by US senator Joseph Biden. “If the majority of Pakistani people don’t think the election was fair, then I think we have a real problem,” said Biden, who is here as a poll observer.