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BSA issue won’t affect polls: IEC

BSA issue won’t affect polls: IEC

Dec 04, 2013 - 20:09

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) on Wednesday said the issue of bilateral security agreement (BSA) would have no effect on the country’s election process.

Deputy IEC head Abdul Rahman Hotaki told a meeting in Kabul they were ready to go for the April 5 presidential and provincial elections and there were no potential challenges that could derail the electoral process.

The IEC officials meeting discussed IEC rules and regulations and public awareness programs concerning the elections.

Hotaki said holding a transparent vote would require security arrangements and signing or not signing the BSA had no effect on the poll process.

He said no internal and externalinfo-icon pressure would be allowed to prevent them from holding the elections on due date.

President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the key security pact, which would allow thousands of American and NATOinfo-icon forces to train and advice Afghan forces after 2014.

The president has asked the US to help Afghanistaninfo-icon hold transparent and peaceful elections slated for April 5 as his precondition for signing the agreement.

US and NATO officials recently warned Karzai he must sign the deal or risk future international aid for his country.

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who was in Kabul last week, said her country would not interfere in the Afghan election process.

Some election official said the delay in signing of the BSA could negatively impact election security.

Afghanistan Democracy Watch chief Zikrya Barakzai said NATO air support was needed in transferring election materials to various places.

“If NATO links its mission to signing of BSA then it will definitely have an impact on the election process,” she said, adding the delay in concluding the accord would leave negative impact on the elections.

Hotaki also signed a memorandum of understanding and civil societyinfo-icon groups on creating awareness among the people about elections.

The MoU is aimed at ensuring transparency in election process and encouraging people to cast their votes through awareness programmes.

Hotaki said the MoU was aimed at benefitting from experiences the civil society institutions gained in the previous elections.

Meanwhile, the UN mission in Afghanistan welcomed the appointment of the Media Commission as another important step towards holding credible polls.  

The Media Commission is charged with monitoring the reporting on and fair broadcasting of the electoral campaigns and, within the regulatory framework applying to media coverage during the electoral process, addressing any violations and offences committed by the media.  


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