IEC and the Afghan Government’s Decision to Deliver Elections in the Year 1400 is appalling and concerning — TEFA

18 January 2021

Kabul: IEC and the Afghan Government have agreed to hold a certain number of elections in the coming year at times when there is no suitable conditions for elections to take place. This is down to wide-spread insecurity as citizens even in Kabul and many other capital cities across Afghanistan are faced with security threats and concerns. Election budget-a factor among others that makes elections possible-ceases to exist and there is still no sign of any information as to how and from where this budget will be secured and allotted to elections. Factoring in the previous election which was a total chaos, no electoral reform has been brought about. Moreover, the existing circumstances disallow political structures’ electoral campaigns, which in turn hinders their meaningful presence and participation in elections. Women’s turnout in elections has always been an issue, and with so much frailties associated with the upcoming elections, it is clear that women will not be able to demonstrate meaningful participation in the upcoming elections.

Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan, factoring in the existing electoral challenges, views IEC and government’s decision to deliver elections in the coming year a much appalling step and a serious threat to the future of democracy and to all the achievements of the past 20 years.

TEFA believes that today Afghanistan has come across an invaluable opportunity that could lead us to manifesting a lasting peace; therefore, the government must not let personal biases influence its decisions, because this may on one end threaten our 20 years of democratic achievements and on the other can give in to waste this important opportunity for reaching a peace pact.

TEFA recommends the following to be considered prior to marking dates for any elections:

1. Electoral reforms based on lessons learned from past elections must be incorporated into election legal framework, and to ensure the legitimacy of future elections election observer’s engagement in electoral reforms process must be deemed mandatory and their observation findings should be included in the reforms scheme.
2. Because target-killings aimed at social elites increases each day and because elections are an important opportunity for political and civic engagement, security should be made a top priority for delivering transparent elections. The Afghan government should devise a strategic security plan that would primarily work for ensuring security of citizens, and secondly work for security of electoral processes.
3. Embezzlement from election budget has been a serious problem in the past elections, such claims were made essentially on account of unnecessary logistical provisions, and embezzlements from staff salary. IEC must therefore first explain why such problems existed in the past, should then come up with a highly transparent and accountable financial management plan.
4. Absence of a political consensus around the government decision can be a serious challenge ahead of efforts for sustain and advancing democracy in Afghanistan. Hence, a wide-spread political consensus is a prime principle that can promote citizens’ meaningful participation in democratic processes.
5. Even though Afghans oblivious as to what really is occurring in the intra-afghan peace process, yet after the US-Taliban agreement and the first round of peace talks, optimism among Afghans has grown wider and wider, which is why the government must make the ongoing peace process a top priority and must deploy all resources and efforts in its support.
6. TEFA believes that all political leaders must have a positive and strategic vision for an independent democratic Afghanistan so that no impediment could jeopardize our achievements of the past 20 years. The Afghan government is responsible for devising all its plans in the light of our national interest and must take responsibility for all kinds of nation- wide challenges.

Download the full statement here: "IEC and the Afghan Government’s Decision to Deliver Elections in the Year 1400 is appalling and concerning"

IEC and the Afghan Government
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