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Insecurity to keep 700 polling stations shut: ETWA

Insecurity to keep 700 polling stations shut: ETWA

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May 22, 2018 - 17:22

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Election and Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistaninfo-icon (ETWA) on Tuesday said some 700 polling stations, facing serious security threats, would remain closed across the country during the upcoming elections.

Habibullah Shinwari, a member of ETWA, told a press conference here that their findings showed 38 districts were out of government control in the country.

He said people would not be able to cast their votes at 700 polling stations in areas under high security threats.

Shinwari also expressed concern about the lack of a mechanism for participation of Afghan refugees, detainees, military officials and workers of political parties in the elections.

He said that the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) should develop a mechanism so all people could participate in the Oct 20 polls.

The IEC should also create an information bank for voters in order to prevent repeated registration of voters and ensure transparency, he added.

Shah Mahmod Mal, another member of the organization, criticized rejection of minimizing electoral districts plan by the President and said: “In unstable provinces, seven or eight representatives are elected from only two districts while the remaining five or six districts are deprived of electing their representatives due to security problems,”

He criticized the government for its failure to bring about reforms in the election system and said that holding the upcoming Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon and district councils elections would be impossible if the situation did not improve this year.

Gul Nasa Nikzad, another ETWA member, said that the number of womeninfo-icon participants in elections would be very limited in some areas due to security problems and patriarchy.

However, IEC chief Abdul Baday Sayyad had earlier said the security issue was shared with the relevant organs and the officials concerned had assured security in insecure areas so all people could participate in elections.

About areas under high security threats, he said, that polling stations would be opened in close location of insecure areas so people of such areas were able to cast their votes.

mds/ma

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