In Pakistan the vote has been extended by at least an hour due to the impressive turnout. With 86 million eligible to vote, it appears that Taliban intimidation hasn’t scared off the majority of voters.
Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League(PML-N) and former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is the favourite to win. Though he faces stiff competition from former cricket star Imran Khan who benefited from a late resurgence.
Though sporadic violence has been reported, it appears that operations are running smoothly in the capital, Islamabad.
Chief EU Election Observer Michael Gahler noted the progress made in a country run by the military for over half of its history.
“I think if I compare the preparations of the election process with last time five years ago, we see considerable improvements. That is what we can state already, that has been confirmed, not only by our observers, but by all the different stakeholders,” he declared.
Pakistan’s Taliban regard the elections as un-Islamic and protesters were out in force. Before the vote they warned people to boycott polling stations to avoid violence. At least 120 have been killed since April in the run-up to the elections.