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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarMuhammad Shakeel Ahmad
Title of Dissertation Electoral Politics in NWFP: 1988-1999
Issue Date2010
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

The main objective of this study is to provide one of the detailed analyses of electoral politics and voting behaviour in NWFP. This study challenges the common perception in NWFP that voting decisions are largely determined by social factors such as traditional ‘feudal relationship’ and ties of family, faction, clan, or tribe. It argues, that political determinant of voting behaviour, such as party and party leader’s loyalty in urban areas and patronage orientation in rural areas, are more important than social determinants of voting behaviour. The scope of study is limited to NWFP. It focuses on the results of National Assembly and Provincial Assembly from 1988- 1997 (Elections 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997). This study is based on both published and unpublished sources as well as on information collected in interviews with politicians and political observers. Perhaps the most original contribution of this work is extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of electoral data, particularly polling stations results.

The focus of this study is to enquire about the events and circumstances that lead to the determination of the voting behaviour, practical participation and involvement of masses in the electoral process; and to analyse different factors which have affected electoral politics and voting behaviour in NWFP. This thesis is the answer of main research question i.e. to what extent electoral politics affect voting behaviour of people in NWFP? In other words who is voting for whom and why? What are the determinants of voting behaviour and electoral politics?

The research work starts from two main assumptions/hypothesis. First, it has been assumed that social factors were the dominant determinants that affect voting behaviour and second is political determinants that predominantly effect voting behaviour in NWFP. To answer the basic research questions and assumptions electoral models including sociological model often identified as School of Columbia, the psychosocial model also identified as School of Michigan, and rational choice theory, also referred to as a model of economic voting, or even as School of Rochester, were utilize in this research work.

The period under study have unique significance, as the rules of electoral systems were same, restoration of democracy and repeated elections. During this period there were four national and provincial elections were held. They provide considerable scope for an analysis of electoral politics.