The date for Afghanistan’s next presidential election is expected to be declared tomorrow as April 5 2014 amid strong concerns about fraud within the electoral system.
A poll official anonymously told TOLOnews that the date of the election will be 16 Hamal 1393 (5 April 2014), but the official announcement will be made on Wednesday by the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Jandad Aspenghar, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) executive director, welcomed the news saying the date is within Afghanistan’s constitution and gives enough time to iron out the matters related to fraud and corruption.
“The elections are supposed to be held in Hamal 1393. This is according to the constitution, so we are optimistic. Until then there is much time for preparation to hold the elections [including] the security forces to work toward providing security, and for the Election Commission to work toward bringing in reforms in the election law as well as determining their impartiality,” he told TOLOnews.
The Cooperation Council of Political Parties (CCPP) on Monday called for the old election identification cards to be destroyed and replaced with electronic IDs in order to combat fraudulent voting.
Moeen Marastial, Vice President of the Right and Justice Party which is part of the CCPP, reiterated the concerns on Tuesday adding that it is an opportunity for the government to show its neutrality by preparing well in the time given.
“We are concerned about electoral fraud and abuse because in the past elections the government interfered in the process and caused many challenges,” Marastial said.
“But if this time the government doesn’t determine its impartiality and if electronic IDs are not distributed for the voters, we will not be expecting a fair and transparent election in Afghanistan. We have made some election plans for the government and the civil society. The election will not face challenges if these plans are put to practice,” he added.
It also supports the parliamentary decision to keep two foreign commissioners on the board of the Elections Complaints Commission, despite President Hamid Karzai’s outspoken criticism of it as an affront to national sovereignty.
It has said that the presence of the international electoral specialists are an accepted and logical process for post-war nations that are moving toward democracy and should not be regarded as a violation of national governance, a negative interference in an election, nor a harm to democracy.