Photo: camafghanistancam / Flickr
Photo: camafghanistancam / Flickr

Afghanistan’s election dilemma

Afghanistan is under-prepared for robust elections, but postponement could cause further instability.

With just over a fortnight to go for Afghanistan's next election, many Afghans are still wondering whether they will be able to vote, and if so, what exactly they will be voting for. Though parliamentary polls will go ahead on 20 October 2018 despite all the shortcomings, the originally – and very optimistically – scheduled first-ever district council elections will not be held. Ghazni province has also been excluded from the parliamentary elections which are taking place after a delay of three years.

District council elections have been postponed on the suggestion of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC), following the lack of adequate candidates for the contest. There were no district council candidates at all in 42 districts, no female candidates in 78, and in 166 districts the number of women candidates was either less than or equivalent to the number of reserved seats, which would mean there would be no contest. In only 40 out of 387 districts were there a sufficient number of male and female candidates to allow competitive elections. The IEC has now suggested it would hold these elections and the parliamentary poll in Ghazni province along with the next presidential and provincial council elections due on 20 April 2019.

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Himal Southasian