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Presidential candidates split over new election date

Presidential candidates split over new election date

Mar 23, 2019 - 18:52

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Some presidential candidates have opposed the newly announced date for holding the presidential election, but others welcomed it.

On Wednesday, the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) announced September 28 as the new date to hold the next presidential election.

IEC chief Hawa Alam Nuristani had said the decision to announce the new election date was made after consultations with all stakeholders.

She had cited amendment of the electoral law, selection of new commissioners, problems in the last Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon polls, budget and security and other issues as reasons behind the IEC inability to hold the presidential polls on the previous date of July 20.

Qader Shah, a spokesman to presidential candidate Hanif Atmar, said that the presidential election had to be held on April 20 according to the law, but it was delayed to July 20 as per the government’s suggestion.

He said the government once again interfering in the election process delayed the polls to September 28.

“No political parties or presidential candidates have been consulted on the issue and the decision to delay the election was totally unilateral and against the law”, he said.

In a resolution letter, Atmar’s electoral team said the new election date had not been consulted with any side and was announced under pressure from the government, an issue it said would damage public trust and democracy.

The source said the government had no will to hold fair election and neither was it capable to do so.

“The national unity government tenure ends in May so a caretaker government should be created for holding the next presidential polls”, Atmar’s team said.

It said the newly announced election date was unacceptable to them and they would reject any steps taken without advice from election candidates.

The Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon Afghanistaninfo-icon (HIA) also opposed the new election date and said the decision was made without consulting political parties.

The HIA in a statement said delaying polls was illegal and would cause consequences. The power should be transferred to the new government on May 22 in accordance with the law, it said.

The party, led by presidential candidate Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, said the national unity government would lose its legitimacy after May 22 and the country would face with a constitutional vacuum. “No one including the IEC has the right to extend the period of the current government.”

The source added the IEC had no respect for law and people’s votes and was trying to remove political parties and their role from the election process.

On the other hand, seven other candidates, who have formed a consultative council, welcomed the new election date.

The seven presidential candidates in a statement said that September 28 was a right date for holding next presidential and provincial council elections as well as Wolesi Jirga election in Ghazni province.

The statement said postponement of elections was a great chance for the IEC to improve its capabilities for fair and transparent polls and to win public trust.



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