ANFREL STATEMENT No. 1
Following the assessment mission in mid-July to Afghanistan for the deployment of international observers, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) is deploying 22 observers to undertake observation functions, research work and capacity building training for citizen observer groups in the country. The 22 observers will be in Central, North and North-East regions of Afghanistan until the end of September, 2010.
First and foremost, ANFREL would like to compliment the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for its hard work to improve the electoral processes and plugging the loopholes that were there in the previous elections, and the Election Complaint Commission (ECC) with it’s new line-up with task to solve and overcome disputes and complains at the provincial levels in a timely manner.
Notwithstanding the security concerns, owing primarily to threats from armed opposition groups, which may prevent some polling centres from opening, the overall scenario looks encouraging. Thus ANFREL welcomes the 18th September Parliamentary Elections.
We also express our deep condolences for the lost of lives of those working in the elections and condemn violence perpetrated to prevent freedom for candidates to campaign and voters to participate; such action can only erode the ongoing democratic processes of the country. ANFREL is asking the government to provide functioning security parameter to safeguard the sanctity of the election. We urge all stakeholders to respect the democratic processes by allowing people to vote for their representative in the Wolesi Jirga in order to sustain nation building and move forward with reconciliation agenda.
From the technical aspect of the elections, we foresee the potentiality of frauds caused by multiple voters – failure in utilizing the indelible ink and preventing ballot tampering will add to the deteriorating security situation across the country, and that the integrity of polling staffs will be in question. The impartiality of the government which are also the head of the provinces, head of districts and the role of police is crucial in a fair election environment. We encourage any action taken to discharge and remove those known to have link to the candidates immediately.
Finally, the Asian civil society gathering in the ANFREL mission is supporting in full commitments of all stakeholders including voters for free, fair and credible Wolesi Jirga Election. We have seen positive development in women’s participation and the Kuchi’s representation in the politics, right to vote for prisoners and a sign of enthusiasm for high voters turn-out more than in the 2009 Presidential Election. It is important to have Vetting Commission set up to investigate and disqualify candidates on the basis of link to illegal armed group and to see the Independent Election Commission (IEC) maintains its regulations on preventing multiple voters, phantom voting by having ID cards punched and the use of indelible ink. It is welcoming news that ballot papers will have water mark and serial numbers for each polling centre and voter’s education materials are visible in many areas.
For further information please contact Ichal Supriadi at +93706741850 or Tadzrul Adha at +93706741834.
Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections (Wolesi Jirga) 2010
ANFREL STATEMENT No. 1