5 reasons why local government elections are pointless

People do not have any faith in fairness of the current electoral process

There are a host of reasons which explain low voter turnout and make a convincing case for the electorate to stay dispassionate as they are. Following are some pointers which help us understand why local government elections are meaningless:

1.      Family politics: In the current local government elections, majority of the cases tell us that the local bodies (district councils, municipal corporations and municipal committees) shall be dominated by the same clout of influential families further strengthening their control over local administrative powers. This impression has its roots in reality and has fairly dispelled the mantra of ‘aam aadmi’.  

2.      No real powers for the local representatives: Although article 140-A of the Constitution provides for devolution of administrative and financial powers to the local governments, however, critics say that the real powers shall remain in the hands of MPAs, MNAs and DCOs. It has rendered these elections merely an affair of optics in order to earn some brownie points.

3.      Miserable representation of the marginalized sections: Meager participation of women and non-Muslims is deplorable. For instance, out of nearly 30,000 candidates contesting in the second phase in Punjab, there are merely 59 women and 111 non-Muslims in the run. Although, there will be two women and one non-Muslim member elected in each Union Council for example but predominantly the impression is that these indirectly elected members shall be the ones who have the blessings of the local MPAs and MNAs or the ones who have to be obliged in order to capture their vote banks as well.

4.      Rigging and ‘patwaris’: In general, electorates do not have faith in fairness of the current electoral process at all. Good or bad, Imran Khan’s popular politics of rigging allegations has also demonized the electoral process to such extent that popular opinion in a fairly large share of the electorate is that why should they even bother to get out of their comforts to vote when their votes are going to be stolen anyway.

5.      Nobody is worth it: Finally a good number of people are disillusioned with the candidates in the first place. For them, the procedure, fair or unfair, comes afterward. These people are of the opinion that none of the candidates are worth our vote and that they are all the same-bad and corrupt.

Mahboob Mohsin is a Political Science graduate from LUMS. Currently he is pursuing MPhil Political Science degree at Government College University Lahore. He was a part of the seventh Youth Parliament Pakistan. Follow him on Facebook. He can be reached at mahboob.mohsin.2014@gmail.com

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