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Oct 20 polls key to future international support: ESG

Oct 20 polls key to future international support: ESG

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Jul 17, 2018 - 21:01

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Foreign ambassadors say now is the time for all Afghans to work together to ensure a credible electoral process that advances the stability and democratization of Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The envoys, part of the Election Support Group of Ambassadors, in a statement here on Tuesday said they were closely following electoral preparations including the voter registration process.

The group is comprised of key donor countries funding international support for the upcoming parliamentary, district council and presidential elections – the European Union, the governments of Denmark (representing Nordic Plus), Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, as well as NATOinfo-icon and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The statement called an upcoming meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board in Kabul on 18 July as an opportunity for Afghanistan’s international funding partners to assess the electoral preparations and report back to their capitals.  

While aware of complaints about some irregularities regarding the issuing of tazkeras and voter registration documents, the ESG noted that for the first time in Afghan history these elections were Afghan led and Afghan owned.

“We recognize the challenges and acknowledge the progress which has been achieved. Providing the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) and government take the necessary actions on time, for the first time there will be a single list of all eligible voters, as well as specific polling station-based voter lists.”

The statement said these reforms would eliminate distribution of extra ballots that in the past had been the major source of alleged fraud.

Other concrete verification measures, if affected in a timely fashion by the IEC, relevant government institutions and the executive, should maximize the credibility of the voter lists.

Political parties and civil societyinfo-icon organizations are strongly encouraged to apply for accreditation to observe the voter registration data entry process at the IEC headquarters and to conduct other anti-fraud activities.

“We acknowledge the widespread frustration with the current electoral system. We have been encouraging the government and a wide range of political actors in this society to consider and agree on proposed changes for some time.”

The ambassadors regretted that efforts to do so last year – before the legally required deadline – did not succeed. “Everyone involved in those discussions bears some responsibility for the failure to produce a result.”

They said the success of the upcoming elections depended on active and constructive participation of all stakeholders, including the electoral institutions, the executive branch, candidates, political parties, media, and civil society.

“The holding of credible and timely parliamentary, district council and presidential elections will be an important consideration in decisions regarding future international support for Afghanistan.”

pr/ma

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