The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday discussed the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections of Afghanistan, recalled on all parties including the Afghan government, political parties, and electoral commissions to create conditions necessary for having “credible” elections.
The UNSC in a statement said that over eight million people including three million women have registered to vote in the parliamentary and district council elections as well as in presidential election in 2019.
“The Security Council notes the conclusion of the voter registration process in Afghanistan on 18 July, which according to preliminary data of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan saw more than 8.9 million Afghans register, including more than 3 million women, in order to exercise their democratic right to vote at the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections on 20 October 2018 and in the 2019 presidential elections.
The council recalled on the Afghan government, political leaders, Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) to carry their
“primary” responsibility to create the conditions for transparent elections.
“The Security Council emphasizes the need to address remaining challenges and to accelerate progress in electoral preparations, which requires without further delay the completion of outstanding issues, including the approval of candidates to fill critical vacancies within the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission, the establishment of a central database of all registered voters that identifies irregularities, as well as the publication of a final list of candidates.
The UNSC said that it underscores the importance of developing sustainable democratic institutions in Afghanistan based on inclusive, transparent and credible elections, and stresses the need to promote the full and safe participation of women, as well as members of minority groups, including ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, both as voters and candidates.
In the statement, the UNSC reaffirmed its strong support to the Afghan elections.
“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan, and in this regard, underscores its support to the Afghan electoral process as a fully Afghan‑led and Afghan-owned process.
The council, meanwhile, called on all parties concerned to adhere to the fundamental requirements laid out by the electoral law and all other relevant regulations and to uphold the highest standards of integrity throughout this “important and historic” process, so that the final outcome reflects the will of the people of Afghanistan.
The United Nations Security Council also emphasized on the gender issue in Afghan elections and stressed the importance of addressing sexual- and gender-based violence against female voters and candidates.
“The Security Council expresses the intention to continue to closely follow the electoral process, including progress on the electoral preparations, and in this regard, looks forward to the thorough verification of registered voters following the completion of the registration process, and requests UNAMA to provide an update to council members on key developments and progress regarding electoral preparations within one month of the adoption of this statement,” the statement concluded.
Following the statement, the IEC said that the commission is working on the demands being addressed by the political parties.
“Efforts are underway to discuss the demands of [political] parties in the meetings and ensure their Contentment in the process,” said Mahfouz Hashimi, a commission of the IEC.