A deadline for Afghans to register to vote in the October 20 legislative elections has been extended, officials said Friday, as figures show hundreds of civilians have already been killed or wounded in poll-related violence. Enrolment for the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections began on April 14 and was originally scheduled to finish in mid-June. By Thursday, just over 1.5 million adults had signed up to vote, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) told AFP — a fraction of the 14 million it had hoped to register during the two-month process. “The election commission of Afghanistan has extended the voting registration process for one month,” the IEC said in a statement, without explaining the reason for the decision.
There are fears that a low turnout could erode the credibility of the elections, which are seen as a test run for next year’s presidential poll.
The vote was supposed to be held in 2015 but has been repeatedly pushed back due to security fears and logistical issues within the fragile unity government.
The decision came as UN figures released Thursday showed 86 civilians had been killed and 185 wounded in 23 election-related security incidents since registration began.