The United States Embassy in Kabul has welcomed the finalization of a budget for the presidential election on Wednesday.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the U.S. Ambassador to Kabul, John R. Bass said, “We are pleased the election budget has finally been finalized. That enables the United States to provide up to $29 million to support operations.
Bass said that Conduct of the elections will also be funding independently Afghan domestic observers’ efforts so people have confidence in the way the election is conducted and in the results.
At the same time, although the budget is an important step, there are many more steps the commission and the relevant ministries need to take to ensure elections occur when scheduled, the statement said.
“We need to see the additional staff hired and trained by the commission. We need to see the voters lists published,” said Bass adding, “We all need to see finalization of procurement and training on the biometric verification devices. All of that will be essential to conduct the election.”
At the same time, we have strong expectations as do all Afghans, I think, to see all of the candidates respecting Afghan law that prohibits government officials or people with access to government officials from using government resources to benefit their campaign, the U.S. Ambassador added.
“We expect all the candidates, whether they are currently in government positions or not, to refrain from trying to use government resources, whether that’s money, whether that’s the power to appoint people, whether that’s simply going about their business in ways that is intended to benefit their campaign,” Bass noted.
“We expect to see everyone respect Afghan law, and we expect that because the Afghan people expect that. And as a last point, I’d note that it’s quite important that the electoral commission be communicating with the public about its activities,” He added.
The Afghan public understand the preparations that are underway and that progress is being made to prepare for these important elections, the statement concluded.
It comes as, on Monday, the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) confirmed that a budget of $149 million has been approved for the upcoming presidential elections.
The presidential election is expected to be held on September 28, 2019.