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IEC urged to extend voter registration deadline in districts

IEC urged to extend voter registration deadline in districts

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May 23, 2018 - 16:51

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members on Wednesday asked the government to extend the deadline for voter registration in districts keeping in mind the current security situation in some provinces.

The lower house members termed the security situations in Farah, Ghazni, Faryab, Uruzgan, Kunduz and Sar-i-Pul provinces as critical and warned these provinces would collapse and people there would not be able to participate in elections if the government did not pay attention.

Lawmaker Mohammad Sarwar OsmaniFarahi form Farah province said that fierce clashes were ongoing in the provincial capital, Farah City, and 10 districts while government officials focusing on elections were engaged in internal differences.

He said holding elections in provinces where major areas were insecure would plunge the country into crisis and the elections in such a situation would lack credibility.

The voter registration process began in districts six days ago, but people are still unaware about it, he said, adding the deadline for the registration should be extended in districts otherwise many people would be deprived of their right to enfranchise.

Munawar Shah Bahaduri, a lawmaker from western Herat province, said, “Most of voter registration centers are not open due to security problems, it is a great injustice with people to deprive them of voting.”

He said security organs should take serious measures for ensuring security of voter registration centers and the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) should also extend the registration deadline.

Rangina Kargar, who represents Faryab people in the lower house, said that some provinces including Faryab, Farah, Ghazni and Kunduz were in critical security situation and holding elections in such a situation would not be acceptable.

“Faryab has 14 districts and most of them are besieged by the Talibaninfo-icon and people cannot participate in voter registration process,” she said.

Wolesi Jirga speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi also expressed concern about the security situation in the country and said the IEC and security officials would be summoned to the Wolesi Jirga next Saturday to brief lawmakers about the election process and security situation.

“Ensuring security for public is the government’s responsibility and we request the government to pave the ground for people’s participation in elections and remove hurdles in this area,” he said.

The IEC, while announcing election schedule, had said the first phase of voter registration would start in provincial capitals from April 14 to May 12, the second phase would start in districts from May 12 to May 28 and a third phase would start in villages from May 28 to June 12.

However, the commission extended the deadline by one month in provincial capitals following suggestion of the parliament. The MPs also stressed that the time of voter registration should be also extended in districts and villages in case of need.

According to the IEC, two million people have registered so far as voters since the beginning of the registration process. The Wolesi Jirga and district council elections are scheduled for October 20.

mds/ma

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