‘Presidential vote delayed on govt’s orders’

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Potential presidential candidates accused the government of ordering the earlier scheduled April 20 vote to be delayed for a period of three months without consulting politicians.

Ahmad Wali Massoud, a possible presidential candidate, told a press conference in Kabul that delaying the presidential election was injustice with people.

He said the government leadership was involved in complicating the election process and no candidates or political parties had been consulted about the issue.

“Elections had to be done in the next three months as the Constitution demands; but unfortunately the Independent Election Commission delayed it, something we had been expecting from the government because the government has no capacity to hold transparent and timely elections,” he said.

He claimed the government wanted an engineered outcome of the presidential election and thus delayed the ballot. He said the current government has no intention to conduct the next presidential election.

“Fundamental reforms in the election commissions are essential, the voter lists should be prepared based on biometric identities and the presidential polls should be held together with district and provincial council elections”, Massoud said.

He said, “The government authorities should be limited because its legitimacy ends after May 22, so there will be a constitutional vacuum, which the government should not be allowed to use.”

On the other hand, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, another possible presidential runner, also said the presidential vote was delayed under government pressure.

He also said the government’s mandate would end after May 22. “This government should go packing after its term completes”, he added.

Meanwhile, according to the “Afghanistan People’s Axis” the IEC decision to postpone the presidential election was based on the National Unity Government (NUG)’s request and its purpose was to pave the ground for fraud rather than reforms in the commission.

The Afghanistan People Axis is led by former spymaster Rahmatullah Nabil who is a would-be presidential hopeful.

A statement from the institution said the IEC decision was clearly against the country’s election law and Article 61 of the Constitution.

The statement said if the delay in holding the election was to provide peace a chance, it could be justified despite its illegality.

The institution demanded the government cease intervention in the electoral commissions, bring necessary reforms, provide online biometric system and disallow the use of government machinery in electioneering. (Pajhwok)