Balochistan LG elections 2022-Independents maintains the lead and win more than 50% seats

 Independents have won 2,086 seats while political parties combine won 1776 seats in 85% results declared so far

Independents emerged as real winners

According to the 85% unofficial and incomplete results of Balochistan local government elections 2022, independent candidates are still leading the race. Independents have won 2080 seats out of the 3856 seats declared so far.

All the political parties combine has won 1776 seats. The independents that includes several groups that were form in different districts at local level. These local groups emerged as the leading force in many districts. For example, Gwadar Rights Movement (Gwadar Haq Do Tehreek emerged as largest group in Gwadar. It won majority in Gwadar Municipal Corporation. In Qalat and Kech districts, the local groups won majority.

It is an alarming situation for the political parties that people preferred independents and local groups over the political parties. The political parties failed to address the burning local issues and to involve in the movements that emerged around local issues. 

The local government elections were held in 32 out of 34 districts of Balochistan province on May 29. The LG elections in remaining two districts Quetta and Lasbela will be held later. The independents have won nearly 55% of the seats so far. The results of nearly 600 seats are still not declared. The elections were held for 4,456 seats as 1584 candidates were already elected unopposed. The official results will be declared on June 03. 

According to unofficial results of 3856 seats announced so far by the presiding and returning officers,  independent candidates have won 2080 seats, JUI-F bagged 532, BAP 304, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) 193, National Party (NP) 155, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) 145, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) 142, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) 74, BNP-Awami (BNP-A) 73, Gwadar Rights Movement (GRM) 58, Awami National  Party (ANP) 45, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz 22, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) 19 ,  Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) 16 and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) 09 seats.

JUI-F has won most seats after independents and emerged as the leading political party in these elections. JUI-F has performed well in both Baluch and Pashtun areas. The ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) came second behind JUI-F. The ruling BAP failed to emerge as the leading party in the province.

BAP won most seats in the 2018 general elections and formed a coalition government. But in these elections, it failed to maintain the support it enjoyed in 2018. These results might be worrying for the BAP leadership.

The party is facing a serious prospect of split. The power struggle has been taken place between former Chief Minister Jam Kamal and current CM Balochistan Mir Qudoos Bizenjo. Bizenjo replaced Jam Kamal as CM through a vote of no-confidence. Now Jam Kamal group is trying to remove Bizenjo. This power struggle within the party played important role in the debacle of the party.

National Party and PKMAP made strong comeback

The results clearly showed so far that National Party, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and PPP have emerged as the real winners of these local government elections2022. The PTI and PML-N are the real losers of these elections.

The left-nationalist National Party led by former chief minister Dr Malik has regained lot of the ground it lost in the 2018 general elections. This party was almost wiped out in 2018. But in these LG elections it has made a strong come back in its traditional strongholds.

The PKMAP led by Mehmood Khan Achakzai also made a strong come back. The party faced shocking defeat in 2018 elections and even Achakzai lost the national assembly seats. But it has regained the ground it lost in 2018. It seems that a triangle battle will takes place between PKMAP, JUI-F and BAP in the next elections in the Pashtun belt of north Balochistan.

PPP back with a bang

The success of PPP candidates in big numbers has surprised many. PPP candidates have done well in some districts including Qalat, Khuzdar and Naseer Abad. The joining of some influential political figures helped the party to muster support in at least five districts. PPP was wiped out in 2013 and 2018 elections. PPP performed well in 2008 elections and formed the coalition government. But it failed to maintain its success and support since 2008. But in these elections PPP came back with a bang.  

The BNP-Awami, which is a coalition partner of the BAP-led government, has won 73 seats. Also, the performance of the PTI and PML-N was not up to the expectation as they won 76 and 22 seats, respectively.  JWP, which once ruled the province when Nawab Akbar Bugti was leading the party and elected Chief Minister of Balochistan, won 19 seats.

The Gwadar Rights Movement capitalized on its recent protests for the rights of fishermen and other stakeholders and succeeded to attract the voters, including women in the coa­stal areas of Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara, Surbander and Pishkan.

According to the government officials, the turnout was more than 50%. In some areas, the turnout was even higher. Political analysts were of the opinion that people reached polling stations in large numbers, because they believed their elected representative could resolve their problems at their doorsteps. 

The reports reaching from the interior parts of the province suggest that not only young male voters but also female voters were witnessed taking interest in the polling. Large numbers of voters were found in long lines waiting their turn to cast their votes. This is really a good sign for the democracy in Balochistan and Pakistan.

                                                           Khalid Bhatti 

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