Taliban have lost, says EU chief observer
KABUL (Pajhwok): The EU Election Assessment Team (EU EAT) on Monday praised Afghan voters’ determination to elect their leadership by voting peacefully and in unexpectedly high numbers.
EU EAT Chief Observer Thijs Berman said: “We don’t know who has won. We know that the Taliban have lost. Their threats to disrupt the elections with violence have led to loss of lives, of citizens, journalists, IEC staff, policemen and one international observer.”
Presenting the preliminary statement on the elections at a press conference in Kabul, he said women remained underrepresented within the electorate, particularly in provinces affected by security threats.
Social limitations and an absence of local infrastructure also decreased women’s participation, he argued. “I sincerely hope that the pride with which many women voters took part in these elections will prove to be highly contagious in the future.”
He acknowledged the legal framework had improved remarkably, recalling the parliament’s approval of two key laws in 2013 establishing a clearly-defined legal structure for the conduct of elections in Afghanistan.
But the absence of a comprehensive, sustainable and centralised voter roll impacted the election commission’s ability to conduct preparations based on detailed knowledge of the size and distribution of the electorate.
The current system of population estimates makes difficult planning for the correct number of ballot papers per polling station, according to the EU team leader, who cited reports about a shortage of ballot papers in some districts.
“We will support further investigations by the competent authorities and other relevant stakeholders on the reasons, the extent and the consequences of this,” the chief observer added.
He suggested tallying of votes with maximum transparency. “The EU EAT will remain until the very end of this electoral process and will continue assessing the compliance of these elections with Afghan legislation and international standards.”
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.