Delay in presidential vote urged to ensure transparency

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Afghanistan’s Civil Society Association (ACSA) and the Election Transparency Watch Afghanistan (ETWA) on Sunday demanded further delay in the presidential vote to ensure transparency.

ETWA head Habibullah Shinwar, at a joint press conference with members of ACSA, said the new commissioners needed time to assess the situation and prepare for conducting the presidential polls, scheduled for July 20.

“I suggest one to two months delay in the conduct of the election so that the new commissioners have time to assess the situation. Consuming more time is not the issue. The important thing is the conduct of free and fair polls and restoration of public trust in the election bodies,” he remarked.

ACSA member Shah Mahmood Mal said: “The appointment of commissioners happened in a hurry and they have no information regarding the election system. The new commissioners should be given time to get familiar with the system and to avoid the repetition of fraud seen in parliamentary election.”

He said the election problems could not be resolved through a change of faces but there was need for fundamental work to streamline the system. Reforms meant improvement in the system but, unfortunately, it had been politicised, he commented.

Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, deputy spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC), acknowledged work had not been launched in line with the poll schedule. The new leadership is striving to finalise matters related to the Wolesi Jirga polls and launch work on the presidential polls.

He said the IEC welcomed views from all stakeholders. In case of need for postponing the vote, the commission would take up the matter with the government. Ibrahimi said the commission was working hard to ensure timely elections. (Pajhwok)