57pc Balkh residents interested in polls: survey
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) on Sunday said 57 percent residents of northern Balkh province were interested the April 5 elections and the remaining 44 called the vote as symbolic, citing a survey.
The survey interviewed 301 individuals, 48 percent of them women, during a month’s period, the IHRC regional office head said.
Syed Mohammad Sami told a meeting that those interviewed included civil society activists, government officials, university lecturers, students and common people.
He said the survey showed 57 percent respondents were interested to participate in the coming elections.
A copy of the survey shared with Pajhwok Afghan News finds 62 percent respondents are concerned about possible fraud in the elections. A majority in the survey stress increased security and economic development in Afghanistan.
The poll finds 58 percent respondents view the provincial council elections as important and 42 percent as ineffective.
Sami said the survey was conducted with full neutrality and the interviewers were university students. “In overall, the survey shows a majority of Balkh residents are interested in the elections,” Sami said.
Regional Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief Izzatullah Arman called the survey as encouraging.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News though some people lacked trust in the upcoming vote, but the ballot would be more transparent than the previous ones.
He added only security threats were a major obstacle to the election process because insecurity could cast doubts on the vote’s credibility and prevent the authorities from holding transparent elections.
“Insecurity, unawareness and cold weather are major problems still haunting the IEC,” Arman said.
He said only five of the 319 polling stations in Balkh faced security threats and that the voter registration drive had accelerated with the launch of campaign for the provincial council elections.
He claimed up to 2,000 individuals were issued with voter cards on a daily basis.
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