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Boost trust in presidential election process, govt asked

Boost trust in presidential election process, govt asked

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Jul 20, 2019 - 14:54

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Election Support Group (ESG) has urged the national unity government (NUG) to strengthen public trust and confidence in the presidential election process.

Preparations for the September 28 ballot came under discussion at a meeting of ambassadors of EU, Germany, Japan, the UK, the US and UNAMA with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

On behalf of ESG, the ambassadors welcomed NUG’s commitment to finance a significant portion of the election budget, reflecting its commitment to Afghan ownership of the electoral process.

In a statement, the diplomats hailed the commitment of both leaders to a credible election and appreciated the two presidential decrees issued in February regarding non-interference of government officials and security forces.

However, the ambassadors noted public concerns about a level playing field for all candidates and stakeholders as well as autonomy of the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECCinfo-icon).

“The ESG takes allegations of abuse of authority seriously and believes such accusations – whether real or perceived – warrant attention by the NUG leaders in order to reassure all candidates, the people of Afghanistaninfo-icon and its international partners, that the principles of fair competition will be respected.”

The ambassadors asked the NUG leaders to publicly explain the measures being taken to ensure that government officials and state resources were not used to the advantage or disadvantage of any particular candidate.

The ESG also urged the BUG leaders yo guarantee that the IEC and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) would be given complete autonomy in the management of the electoral process.

“Both leaders should not only conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the election law and code of conduct they signed, but to also set an example for other candidates.”

The ESG encouraged NUG officials with a role in the election campaigns of both leaders to formally step aside from their positions for the duration of the election campaign.

pr/mud

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