By Tim Foxley
Summary: Don’t forget the elections (March 2014)!
Two electoral angles, further to my comment previously about the risk that the elections get ignored until too late. The first is a flashback to all the other elections since 2004. The second, Karzai apparently declining to stand, is not new, but it underlines the importance of the election – a potentially much greater leap into the unknown. I once heard a a senior UK diplomat stake his reputation on Karzai not standing. I agreed with him then and I still do.
KABUL – Head of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) Fazel Ahmad Manawe said on Tuesday that he is running out of time to properly register voters for the upcoming election in 2014. Speaking to TOLOnews, Manawe stressed that insecurity; lack of exact population statistics, lack of proper national ID cards, and possibly a lack of sufficient budget were the main causes of the delay in starting of voters’ registration process.
“We have made this clear in the past that we don’t have too much time, we need to take our decision, we cannot conduct this huge task if we continue to lose time,” Manawe said, urging the donor agencies and the Afghan government to provide the commission with necessary facilities and budget.
The scheduled time for launching the presidential election is March 2014 and any delay in this may be considered a violation of Afghanistan’s constitution, he said.
Manawe said that the registration process of the voters needs at least $80 million which should be given by the donor agencies as pledged, but he is concerned that the delay in transferring these budgets will make it difficult to do a proper job.
He said that the IEC is trying to have election cards which will be considered a legal alternative to the national ID cards.
“We are trying to have standard cards issued which can be used as national ID cards too,” he said.
The pressure is on for the IEC to ensure a transparent and fair election after serious allegations of fraud followed the last election, despite millions of dollars in donor funds to support the democratic process.
KABUL – President Hamid Karzai, pledging respect for Afghanistan’s constitution, on Tuesday said he had no plan to contest the 2014 presidential ballot.
At a meeting with tribal elders and religious scholars from Badakhshan province, he stressed the ballot must be held in a transparent manner; otherwise the government would lose its credibility.
“I’m not a candidate for the next presidential election, because the constitution doesn’t allow me to run for a third term,” the president added.