Afghanistan’s presidential election will take place next year on April 20 with results due by June, the electoral authority in the conflict-ridden country announced. The 12-day registration of presidential hopefuls will start next week, Gulajan Abdulbadi Sayad, head of the Independent Election Commission, told a news conference in the capital Kabul on Monday. “All necessary preparations and an action plan are in place. Soon the recruitment of staff for the presidential polls will also begin,” he said. He pledged the results of the April 20 presidential polls would be out by June.
Articles about voting issues in The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
An election complaints agency on Thursday invalidated all of the votes cast in Kabul Province in October’s parliamentary election, more than a million in all, over fraud allegations, pushing the country toward another political crisis just as a top American diplomat arrived to build momentum for peace talks with the Taliban. The ruling set up a stalemate with the agency administering the vote, the Independent Election Commission. The commission said it would ignore the decision invalidating the votes — which would ordinarily require a new election within seven days — and would certify the results of Kabul’s vote in the coming days. It was unclear how the dispute would be resolved. The complaints agency did not describe the fraud accusations in detail, but it called for the firing of several Independent Election Commission staff members.
Afghanistan s election organisers vowed Tuesday to hold April s presidential poll on time, after fears it could be delayed as they struggle to compile results of the recent legislative vote amid thousands of complaints. The remarks come as the United States, in a bid to end the 17-year war, spearheads international efforts to engage the Taliban in peace talks that some had feared could be derailed by the April 20 presidential election, which is expected to fiercely contested. On Monday, spokesmen for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) told reporters they were looking at pushing the ballot back to July 13. IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad said “economic, security and weather situations are forcing us to make some changes to the timeline”. But on Tuesday, officials decided not to delay, releasing a statement on the IEC Facebook page saying the vote would be held April 20 “on the demand of the people and parties”.
Election officials in Afghanistan are considering delaying next year’s presidential election by several months, amid disarray in counting votes from last month’s parliamentary balloting. Holding presidential elections by April 20 was previously one of international donors’ red lines in Afghanistan, especially after an embarrassing four-year delay in holding parliamentary elections. Now, however, some politicians and observers are suggesting that the electoral fiasco might help encourage peace talks with the Taliban, who are unlikely to agree to a deal if a new president is about to be elected for a five-year term. Three officials at the Independent Elections Commission confirmed on Sunday that discussions were underway on a potential delay for the presidential vote, but they insisted no decision had been made.
The number of civilians harmed in last month’s parliamentary elections was higher than in four previous elections in Afghanistan, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report. At least 435 civilian casualties were recorded, out of which 56 people were killed and 379 wounded, on election day on October 20, and during days when delayed polling was conducted in some provinces. The numbers do not include casualties from attacks during the three-week election campaign. “This report documents grave concerns over the organised campaign of numerous attacks by anti-government elements, mainly Taliban, directed at civilian objects and in civilian populated areas during the elections, including attacks against schools used as polling centres,” the report said.
Afghanistan: Suicide bomber targets Afghanistan’s election commission headquarters in Kabul | The Defense Post
A suicide bomber targeting the headquarters of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission on Monday killed at least one person and wounded six, officials said, in the latest violence to strike the controversial poll. One police officer was killed when the militant, who was on foot, blew up near a vehicle carrying IEC employees as it entered the base at 8 a.m. (0330 GMT). Four election workers and two other police officers were also wounded in the blast. The attacker was “identified and gunned down by police before reaching his target,” Kabul police spokesperson Basir Mujahid told reporters.
Embattled Afghan election officials on Monday vowed to investigate the mishandling of the weekend’s problem-plagued legislative ballot, as voters prepare to wait weeks for the results. Initial figures show around four million voted in the long-delayed election that was extended by a day after many polling centres opened late or not at all due to glitches with biometric verification devices and missing or incomplete voter rolls. That is less than half of the nearly nine million voters who had registered to participate in the parliamentary election, though many suspect that a significant number of those were based on fake identification documents that fraudsters hoped to use to stuff ballot boxes. The turnout figure does not include those who voted on Sunday, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said.
On October 20, Afghanistan held its long overdue parliamentary elections. Delayed since 2015, the polls were only the third since the ousting of the extremist Islamist Taliban regime in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. While voter turnout in Kabul and other cities was reportedly high, the election was spoiled by technical and organizational problems at some of the 4,900 polling stations across the country. Contrary to large populations centers, where security was – for Afghan standards – relatively good, insurgent attacks severely hampered, if not prevented, voting in some more remote areas. These disruptions open the door even further for – justified or not – criticism of the results (preliminary results are scheduled to be announced on November 10). The Diplomat visited two polling centers in Kabul’s Shahr-i Naw, a neighborhood in the center of the Afghan capital only a few minutes’ walk away from heavily guarded ministries and embassies. Both opened as scheduled on the morning of October 20. Voters arrived alone or in small groups and entered the stations, which were – like many around the country – located in mosques guarded by a number of police officers. Across Afghanistan, reportedly 70,000 government forces were deployed to ensure the security of the elections.
Polls have closed in Afghanistan’s long-awaited parliamentary elections, with large numbers of voters defying deadly attacks to cast their ballots. Most polling stations in the country opened on Saturday at 7am (02:30 GMT) and were scheduled to close at 4pm (12:30 GMT). But voting was extended to Sunday at 6pm (13:30 GMT) as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said they gave voters more time to cast their ballot because of a lack of voter materials at some polling stations and problems with the electronic voter system. Zabih Ullah Sadat, deputy spokesperson for the commission, told Al Jazeera that 250 polling centres “opened at 9am on Sunday and remained open until all the voters had cast their ballots”. Vote counting is under way and preliminary results are expected within 20 days. The electoral body has until December 20 to release the final results.
From a university student to a middle-aged housewife, Afghans planning to vote in the October 20 parliamentary election say they are willing to risk their lives for democracy. Nearly nine million people have registered to vote, but far fewer are expected to turn out on polling day due to threats of violence and expectations for massive fraud. Six people across the war-torn country explain why their vote matters.
– Omaid, the artist – Out with the old and in with the new is Omaid Sharifi’s hope for the legislative election. The 32-year-old artist, who is voting for the first time, wants to see a new generation of politicians take their seats in the next parliament. Sharifi, co-founder of Kabul-based street art collective ArtLords, was inspired to vote by the large cohort of young, educated candidates among the more than 2,500 contesting the ballot. I am concerned (about security) but I think this is the price of democracy we have to pay,” he said.