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Election Hat Tricks Explained

In the first part of our analysis to determine which seats can be designated to be “safe seats”, we will be relying on this cliche: history always repeats itself.

The political landscape (read: the political parties, affiliations and coalitions) in the country has been quite dynamic over its electoral history. Looking at the last three elections, we identified seats that have either been won by the same party for all 3 elections (2002, 2008 and 2013) or the last 2 elections (2008 and 2013) as a way of seeing how history could repeat itself in 2018.

Hat-trick seats

57 (~20%) out of the 272 seats fall in the hat-trick category. Dominated by Sindh with 38 out of these 57 seats, these seats largely speak to the strongholds of MQM in/around Karachi (12 seats) and for PPP in Sindh (24 seats) that PTI or PML-N couldn’t penetrate in the 2013 elections.

Hat-trick ball seats

To accommodate the peculiar nature of the 2002 elections (proximity to the 1999 coup), we also included seats where the 2018 elections would be the “hat-trick ball” per se.

62 (about ~22%) of the 272 seats fall in this category. As one could guess, 46 (75%) of these 62 seats were won by PML-N in their Punjab strongholds.

Overall, because PTI didn’t contest the 2008 elections, it gets excluded from this list of seats. PPP and MQM’s numbers show how they have held onto their strongholds through the years.

Party or person?

With close to half of the seats in the country being won by the same political parties over and over again, we asked ourselves: how personality-driven is this stickiness?

It turns out, only 11 (~20%) of the 57 hat-trick seats were retained by the same person through all three elections, and 30 of the 57 were the same person contesting the 2008 and 2013 elections. In the hat-trick ball seats, 39 (~60%) of the 62 seats won twice were contested by the same person. So, overall, ~60% of the 119 seats in a row were won by the same person in 2008 and 2013.

Even this ~60% ratio is low if you think about it - even when the incumbent party won a seat in 2013, about 2 out of those 5 seats had a different candidate contesting from the same seat that they had carried in the 2008 election.

Let us know what you think about which seats (or political parties) are safe and which ones aren’t? Do you think that would change in 2018 elections?

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