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Citizens’ right to vote must be defended: UN

Citizens’ right to vote must be defended: UN

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Sep 16, 2019 - 11:44

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon (UNAMA) has praised efforts by the electoral authorities, as well as security forces and others, to conduct the presidential elections under challenging circumstances.

In the interest of enabling all eligible Afghans to exercise their constitutional right to vote, UNAMA urged the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECCinfo-icon), civil societyinfo-icon, candidates and other stakeholders to redouble their efforts before polls opened.

“An emphatic message from delegates at last week’s UN Security Council session on Afghanistan was that the international community fully supports presidential elections taking place on 28 September,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the secretary-general’s special representative.

A statement, UNAMA called the credibility of any election the collective responsibility of all stakeholders, not solely that of the IEC and ECC.

Candidates, civil society organisations, media, ulemainfo-icon and others had important roles to perform, not least in looking to mobilise the electorate in exercising their democratic right to cast their ballot, it added.

No one has the authority to disenfranchise the Afghans who are registered to vote, according to the statement, which underlined the link between a fair ballot and democracy.

“Credible elections lie at the heart of any democracy, and the right to vote is in many ways a key symbol of the democratic progress made in Afghanistan over the last 18 years,” said Yamamoto.

“Voting is not just a matter of civic responsibility; it is a way of protecting the achievements made in Afghanistan and showing support for peaceful political processes.”

UNAMA affirmed its commitment to doing all within its authority to support the IEC and ECC in the conduct of a credible, transparent and inclusive election.

Candidates were reminded to accredit their agents before the September 21 deadline so they could have eyes and ears on the voting, and played a responsible role in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.

All candidates and voters were urged to play their part in safeguarding the integrity of the election and to refrain from engaging in any electoral irregularities.

In case of credible room for concern about the commission of irregularities, the ECC should be immediately contacted to carry out expeditious and proper investigations, the statement said.

The mission commended the work of the security forces in supporting the elections, safeguarding the distribution of sensitive materials and ensuring the security of the polling locations on and before election day so that all Afghans, including womeninfo-icon, could participate.

mud/pr

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