Asia - Pacific

Afghanistan unable to ensure fair polls: Watchdogs

Electoral observers say the gov't, int'l donors are not taking their concerns in regard to presidential polls seriously

Shadi Khan Saif   | 16.07.2019
Afghanistan unable to ensure fair polls: Watchdogs

KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan has no mechanism in place to ensure transparency during the forthcoming presidential polls, local watchdogs claimed on Tuesday.

At a joint presser, officials from the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan and the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) questioned the government's will and ability to ensure transparency, inclusiveness and independence during the key presidential polls scheduled for Sep. 28.

These electoral watchdogs criticized the Independent Election Commission for failing to address concerns regarding voter registration, fake identity cards and the use of the biometric technology for voter verification.

"Those who are responsible such as the election commission, the international community and the Afghan government have so far not taken these concerns seriously," said Naeem Ayubzada, head of TEFA.

As ambiguities surround the presidential polls amid a fast-tracked peace process, the country's election commission on Monday finalized the list of election contenders.

The candidates include incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, his power-sharing CEO Abdullah Abdullah, former National Security Adviser Haneef Atmar, and former Mujahedeen leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Earlier this month, the Election Support Group, an alliance of key donors such as the EU, Australia, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic plus), Germany, Japan, the U.K, the U.S. and NATO as well as the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan urged the election commission to continue making progress in its preparations for the elections.

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