QUETTA - After the independent candidates, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) has emerged as the largest party in Balochistan, securing 964 seats, more than any other party in the local government elections, revealed provincial election commissioner, Sultan Bayazeed, during a news conference on Saturday.

The announcement of the results came after seven days from the polling day. “The returning officers took time for crosscheck while the Balochistan Election Commission received the results with the delay of three to four days from remote areas of the province,” he said, announcing the party positions. The ECP will soon notify success of the elected members.

The turnout in the Baloch-dominated areas in the LG elections was below 25 percent due to the volatile situation. However, overall turnout was about 42 percent which, according to the Election Commission, was comparatively better. The elections were held in 4,036 constituencies while 2,554 candidates were elected unopposed and majority of them belonged to Baloch-dominated areas.

According to the Election Commission, independent candidates secured a clear majority and clinched 2,675 seats. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) emerged as the largest party bagging more seats as compared to the ruling parties, National Party (NP), Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and PML-N. The PkMAP stood second, securing 765 seats, National Party bagged 562, PML-N 472, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-Nazariati) 227, BNP-Mengal 198, PML-Q 68, Awami National Party (ANP) 62, BNP-Awami 54, Pakistan People’s Party 39, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) 22, Jamoot Quami Movement (JQM) 11, Jamaat-i-Islami 9, Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) 5, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) 4 seats and others won 29 seats.

JUI-F bagged seats from different parts of the province while PkMAP gained majority in northern parts of the province and National Party (NP) became the largest party in the Baloch-dominated areas. The provincial election commissioner said these were not the final lists of the elected candidates because polling was not held in more than 559 constituencies and results of 17 constituencies were withheld due to technical problems and complaints.

Of 559 constituencies in which polling was not held, 511 seats are union councils, 34 for municipal committees and 14 seats are for district councils. The elections were not held in Kech, Haranai and Awaran districts. “The Election Commission is likely to announce the schedule for by-elections on December 19,” said Sultan Bayazeed. He added notification for the elected candidates would be issued within two days after which election tribunals would be constituted in each district to take up the complaints of those who had lost the elections.

More than 600 candidates have lodged complaints with the Election Commission. The tribunals will be headed by district magistrates, sessions judges and additional sessions judges.

There are 33 percent reserved seats for women and five percent each for peasants, labourers and minorities. They will be elected by the winning councilors. “Each body will have 33 percent women and five percent each of peasants, labourers and minorities,” Sultan Bayazeed said, adding they would be elected after the by-elections. He said the process would be completed by the end of January.