U.S. Election Observation Mission to Pakistan 2008 General Elections Report
April 30, 2008
At the request of the U.S. government and with a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Democracy International organized a U.S. election observation mission for the February 2008 elections. The purpose of DI’s observation mission was to support the electorate and democracy in Pakistan by providing an expanded international presence to observe and report on the electoral process and, to the extent possible, to evaluate the degree to which the elections conformed to international standards. The mission built on DI’s recent work in Pakistan, including a political party assistance evaluation in December 2007 and work with the Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN), the principal domestic election monitoring coalition. It also drew heavily on the extensive experience, expertise and knowledge of DI’s staff and delegates, as well as other observation groups. In particular, DI drew on the findings of FAFEN and benefited greatly from its coordination with other international observers.
For the elections, DI deployed a total of 38 short-term international observers, supplemented by a team of Pakistani facilitators. Regional teams of between four and 10 delegates traveled to Lahore, Multan, Karachi and Peshawar before Election Day. A team also remained in Islamabad. On Election Day, the regional teams divided further into teams of two, each of which visited between eight and 20 polling stations. In mid-April, DI sent a team of three experts to assess the postelection process. The postelection team met with representatives of the Election Commission of Pakistan, the European Union Election Observation Mission, the major parties and various other stakeholders.
This report is based on information gathered by Democracy International over a year of work in support of democracy in Pakistan. It draws in particular on the findings of DI’s election observation delegation for the February 2008 elections and DI’s postelection mission in April 2008 as well as on DI’s political party assistance evaluation in December 2007 and its work with domestic monitoring organizations over the past year.