Nearly 60pc of Afghans lack confidence in electoral bodies
KABUL (Pajhwok): Nearly 60 percent of Afghans have indicated their lack of confidence, with only 7.12 per cent expressing a high level of trust in the electoral bodies, reveals a new survey.
The public opinion poll on electoral reforms, conducted by the Green Growth Monitoring Consultancy (GGMC), was funded by the United States Institute for Peace (USIP).
A total of 3,246 people were interviewed across 11 provinces, including988 women, making 30% of the sample size. More than 50% of the interviewees were between 20-29 years old.
Of those polled, 59.9 per cent said they had no confidence in the performance of Independent Election Commission (IEC). Only 7.12 per cent indicated high level of confidence in the panel’s work in handling fair and transparent elections.
About 87.97 per cent of the respondents stressed the need for reforms within IEC, 23.6 per cent recommended amendments in the electoral law, while 19.3 per cent called for appointing new commissioners.
Approximately 78.64 per cent of the respondents had voted in the 2014 presidential elections. The survey also measured the level of interaction between people and their parliamentary representatives.
In this case, 45.53 per cent knew their parliamentary representatives, while another 54.47 per cent did not know their lawmakers. Only 6 per cent have met their MPs more than five times in a year, while 66.26 per cent have not seen their representatives at all.
In addition, the survey said, 58.12 percent of respondents believed their legislators had not been helpful in addressing the needs of their communities.
In order to assess the level of awareness and knowledge about electoral bodies, 31.03 percent of those polled favoured the existing provincial electoral boundaries with more than one representative in the national parliament. However, 59.73 percent raised called for smaller constituencies.
As 2014 elections faced issues, majority of respondents demanded reforms, particularly in electoral laws and distribution of electronic ID cards. The people favoured single membered constituencies with an SNTV electoral system.
Many hoped the proposed reforms would bring positive changes to the current system. However, they showed greater trust in traditional customary institutions.
High levels of female participation were observed in the north (41.58%) and lowest in southeast (4.7%). Highest levels of male participation (95.3%) is in southeast and southern (84.56%) regions.
About the upcoming election participation, in northeast as high as 79.44 percent of respondents said yes and 33.97 percent replied with a no in the central zone, according to the poll.
With regard to IEC performance, 17.52 percent in southeast were very confident, 41.99 percent in southwest somewhat confident and 86.17 percent in northwest not confident at all.
Amendments were supported by 49.57 percent of respondents in the west, dissolutionof IEC by 17.29 percent in the central zone, the election of new commissioners by 39.13 per cent in the northwest and electronic IDs by 80.13 percent in the southeastern region.
On electoral boundaries, 57.76 percent in the northern zone voted for multiple representatives and 82.26 percent in the southeast for boundaries with a single representative.
Though the trend of voting for smaller constituencies seems steady across the zones, yet southeastern topped the list with 84.62 percent saying yes and 55.12 percent no in the north.
SNTV system was favored the most in southern zone (87.25%), proportional representation in the western zone (19.42%) and MPR in northwest (52.17%).
On the question if the Election Reform Commission was helpful in strengthening the work of IEC, 74.49 per cent in western region said yes and 39.96 percent in southeastern region responded in the negative.
In the north, 42.38 percent said they were very confident about democracyand 54.36 percent were not confident at all in the southern region.
In terms of the government’s performance, 79.45 percent in the northwest said they were very confident, and 33.55 percent were not confident at all in the southeast region.
Elections were supported by 36.23 percent in the west in terms of confidence, and 40.88 per cent were not confident at all in the southeast region.
The survey said 33.04 percent of respondents showed confidence in IEC and 75.89 per cent expressed no confident at all in northwestern region, with 58.09 percent in the north very confident about the Election Reform Commission.
It added 37.59 percent were not confident at all in central region. On confidence in customary/traditional shuras, 58.09 percent in the north responded very confident, and 37.59 percent were not confident at all in central region.
Since the unity government has not fully kept its promises, people are pessimistic about the upcoming elections, as it is widely perceived by ordinary citizens the polls are only to deceive people.
Asked if participants wanted to vote in upcoming elections either presidential or parliamentary, 62.31% of people said yes, 27.58% said no, 9.15% people didn’t know and 0.96% respondents rejected to answer.
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