In the USA, ‘scientifically’ (i.e., accurately) predicting election results was booming business till their shopping spree was Trumped in 2016. They had Hillary won, and in the popular vote, she did win. But it was the electoral college countdown where they got beaten, bruised and failed.
Trump like phenomenon in Pakistan is not yet on the horizon; Sri Khadim won’t make desi Trump this or in the next elections. His role and function are akin to that of TUQ in 2013.
Then, in Pakistan, it’s still the popular vote that counts, literally, technically, and metaphorically. So, all of you who want to delve in an election prediction enterprise for the 2018 round are strongly encouraged to do so. In this piece, you can learn ‘how to predict your own elections’.
In this first lesson, you will learn to make a few predictions only. When the election date is announced, we would release the next part of the DIY guide, for further predictions.
The timing of the elections is the first aspect of popular conjecture; and, just alongside that, if not just before that, is the caretaker government set up.
Current National Assembly technically completed its term yesterday, the 11th May (hence this piece); but actually, the MPs took oath on 1st June 2013. So the term will be up in 20 days.
Some supra-democratic punters would have you dissuade and believe that the next caretaker set up will, in fact, be undertaker set up and remain in office for at least three years, if not more.
Just ignore them, and wish them luck. They would do themselves a favour if they keep a little space for a big disappointment. In doing so, they would also do Gen. Raheel a favour, for he is enjoying his extended chief-ship in the Middle East.
Then getting paid like a consultant has a deep delight that only a consultant like yours truly knows. So, let the sleeping bulls lie, and pend that extended caretaker setup for another time, and preferably for another country if they please.
The caretaker Prime Minister will be a surprise, and surprisingly will only be for 3 months or so. The hint: S/he will be from a province/area from where a regularly elected PM is not likely. The chances of a caretaker PM’s being imported ala Moen Qureshi are very less likely too.
But don’t count out another general, and a judge won’t make the cut because their brother had this stint last time, and then their Lordships are more interested in toppling the popularly elected PMs and would like to have a go at being President, not a caretaker PM anymore.
The timing of the elections, if PML-N had its way, would be after the monsoon, when there is more water in the dams, and less load shedding. That means, let’s count out June, July and a part of August too. In August, its Independence Day on 14th and Eid ul Azha, the following week.
So, out of the two potential Election Weeks, one is between Eid and Ashoor, i.e., between 24 Aug and 10 September.
Constitutionally, the lower House can extend its term by a few months, if need be. And the need could be to deflate the balloon of judicial activism. Which means, the parties can agree on a date after Ashoor, and in late September/ Early October too.
The third aspect of election-related predictions is the political alliances, which are primarily geared at winning Punjab. Because they who win Punjab, get Islamabad. On this, a small tip, no anti-establishment party has won a majority in Punjab since 1988.
So, let’s take it easy and relax for we have several months before the election heat gets to us. Meanwhile, you start the practicum of this first lesson and list your dates.