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MAJORITY STILL DOUBTS ELECTIONS WILL BE FREE AND FAIR BUT TRUST LEVEL HAS RISEN (Part-II Pre Election Surveys)

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When asked, Given the present circumstances, in your opinion will the elections be free and fair? a majority of 51% still doubts the forthcoming elections on February 18 will be free and fair. But the level of trust has increased from 15 % in early November, 2007 to 31% in the latest Gallup Pakistan poll conducted on January 26, 2008. There are good reasons behind the change including the lifting of Emergency, shedding of Army Chief uniform by Pervez Musharraf, partial restoration of media freedom, return of exiled leaders, visible presence of national and international election observers. But many problems continue to persist including the subservience of judiciary, partisanship of local governments and other state functionaries as well as the nagging memories of rightly or wrongly held notions that rulers would go to any length to hang on the authority and would twist and bend the elections rather than accept electoral defeat. It is nevertheless gratifying for researchers that the science of polling provides sensitive instruments to pickup changes in perceptions, and that the ordinary citizen of Pakistan is sufficiently objective in changing his and her perceptions when realities change. The recent Gallup Pakistan nation-wide polls comprise the second of a two-part series of perceptions on Elections.

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