Hung parliament expected as no party seems getting the simple majority to form the government, PPP and PTI will finish second and third respectively
The countdown has already begun. It is 7 days to the polls for general elections. The political pundits, election experts and commentators are calling these elections too close to call or predict. The Gallup Pakistan, International Republican Institute (IRI) and a joint survey conducted by PILDAT (Pakistani think tank working on elections and reforms), Gallup and leading media group The News and Geo News conduct three different opinion polls from November 2012 to February 2013, giving PML-N clear edge over its opponents PPP and PTI. These opinion polls put PML-N at top with 38% support, PPP 17% and PTI 15% respectively. These opinion polls were conducted before the start of election campaign. Now the situation is slightly different. The PPP has failed to kick start its national election campaign. PPP is using media as the main source of its election campaign. On the other hand both PML-N and PTI are organizing massive public meetings across the country. PTI led by cricketer turn politician Imran Khan has been able to run an impressive election campaign. Now the main question is will the PTI be able to change the results of the 30 closely contested seats in Punjab and KPK province? It is still difficult to predict the results of these 30 seats where contest is very close and the margin of victory will be couple of hundred votes. Out of 30, PML-N and PTI are neck to neck on 15 seats while three way contests is going ahead on the remaining 15 seats between PML-N, PPP and PTI . These 30 seats are forcing the election experts and political commentators not to predict the final out come of the elections and to keep their fingers crossed.
The real battle ground is in the largest province of Punjab where 148 seats are at grab. According to our own estimates PML-N has clear lead in the 85 constituencies, while PPP is leading in 25, PTI in 13, another faction of PML called Q league 12 and 15 seats are undecided. If PML-N won these remaining15 seats than its tally in Punjab will goes up to 100 which is the dream of the PML-N leadership. If PTI won these seats than PTI will goes to the 28 seats. So these 15 undecided seats and big swing in the votes in some constituency can change the final outcome of the elections. One thing is certain that PML-N is still the leading party in Punjab. It is most likely that it will get majority to form the provincial government in Punjab province.
In Sindh province, PPP will emerge as the largest party and it expect to win 30 out of 61 seats of parliament in this province. MQM (urban based ethnic linguistic group) will get 15seats mostly from Karachi; Feudal dominated faction of PML called Functional league 06, PML-N 04, rightwing religious party JI 02 and other smaller parties 04. PPP will also emerge as the largest party in the provincial assembly of Sindh but with the reduced majority compares to the last elections. MQM will be runners up with enough seats to form the provincial coalition government with PPP in the province. Other parties like PML-N, PML-F, JI and others will also share some seats among themselves but will not enough to stop PPP from forming the provincial government with the support of MQM.
The situation in KPK province is not very clear yet. Couple of month ago, PTI was the leading party in the province and it seems that it will be able to won most of the seats for the parliament and also in the provincial assembly. But situation has changed since than. PML-N has been able to bring some influential politicians into its fold and now going neck to neck with PTI. There are 35 seats at grab in this Northern Province bordering Afghanistan and tribal areas. PML-N has edge on 07 seats while PTI is leading on 06, PPP on 04, ANP on 04, GUI-F on 04, other smaller parties 03 and 07 seats are still undecided. Tribal areas have 12 seats but it is not yet clear who will win most of these seats. It seems that no party will be able to won the majority to form the provincial government. It is possible that either PML-N form a coalition government with the help of some smaller religious and Pashtun nationalist parties or PTI led a coalition government with the help of JI and some independent candidates. Independent candidates always played important role in the formation of the provincial government. It is likely that 15 independent candidates will win their seats and become king makers. The voters turnout is going to play an important role in the out come of the elections. The Taliban and other religious militant groups are attacking almost every party in the province to disrupt the elections. They are issuing decrees against the elections and asking people to stay away from poling stations on elections day. There are fears of more violence on the Election Day as more than 130 people have so far been killed in the bombings and shootings in cities of the province.
The situation is unique in Baluchistan as always been the case; no party has been able to get the simple majority in the provincial assembly since 1985. There are 14 seats for the parliament in this vast but less inhabitant province which is 46% of the Pakistani territory. PML-N, Baluch and Pashtun nationalists and JUI-F will share these seats. No party will be able to get the majority in the provincial assembly and at least four to five parties will form the coalition government. The turn out might be low as Baluch militant organizations has announced to boycott the elections.
PML-N 115, PPP 60, PTI 25, MQM 17, PML-Q 12, PML-F 06, Independents 15, smaller religious and nationalist parties 22.