The UNSC delegation visited the Afghan capital Kabul and met with Afghan officials on Jan 13-15 after over 7 years.
The delegation that included representatives from all five permanent members of China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. expressed concerns over the transparency in the election process of Afghanistan.
“We stress over the transparency of the upcoming elections. Afghans and the international partners should jointly work to eliminate concerns,” said Mahmoud Saikal, ambassador and permanent representative of Afghanistan to UN.
Afghan election officials during a meeting with UNSC delegation have briefed on the preparations for the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections in 2018, including the development of an improved voter registry.
“Council members underscored the importance of continued progress on electoral reforms and towards the holding of free and fair, as well as timely, credible and inclusive parliamentary and presidential elections in 2018 and 2019, respectively. They reiterated the need to increase women’s participation in the election,” the statement said.
The Afghanistan Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that July 7, 2018, will be National Election Day and that on that day Afghans will elect their representatives to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly and to the country’s district councils.
“IEC attempts to hold a transparent election and the priority is transparency,” said Abdul Badi Sayad, the spokesman of IEC.
Afghanistan’s last election the 2014 presidential poll nearly ended in disaster, with the top two candidates at loggerheads over who really won amid rampant accusations of fraud.
A deal brokered by then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry led to the formulation of the National Unity Government (NUG), with Ashraf Ghani as president and Abdullah Abdullah in the newly created position of chief executive officer.
The electoral observing and monitoring institutions are not sure over the IEC’s efforts and their commitments for transparency.
“The IEC announced its plans but we have not witnessed any progress. At least we should see the voters’ lists,” said Jandad Spin Ghar, head of monitoring foundation from Afghanistan elections.
It would seem impossible for Afghanistan to manage an election as soon as next summer, but further delay pushes the image of even a nascent democracy in the country into the realm of true absurdity.