The Kabul Times

Afghans eying transparent parliamentary elections

Public will, which is demonstrated through elections, constitutes the cornerstone of democracy. To form a civil society where people be able to exercise their rights and freedoms, a state needs to conduct a fair and free election. However, electoral rigging will be a blow to democracy and a violation of the public right. 
The nascent democracy in post-Taliban Afghanistan has been a gleam of hope for the war-weary Afghans who dreamt of practicing their rights and liberties in a violence-free and corruption-free country. With a view to breathing a sigh of relief, Afghan men and women flocked to ballot boxes in 2014 to elect the president. The public participation in power was a significant landmark in the history of Afghanistan. 
But widespread fraud reported during the last elections and vast corruption in parliament has undermined the process and the people became reluctant to participate in the process.Both government and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) were worried of low number of participants in the process, and media reports revealed that a small number of people were registering their names.
Since the government begun reformation process and the IEC took steps to avoid those warlords and corrupt people nominated themselves as the candidate for upcoming parliamentary elections, the people pinned hope on the democratic process and more than 9.5 million have registered their names so far.
Meanwhile, the committee of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), assigned for investigation of possible links of some candidates with illegal armed groups, said Friday that 25 names have been dropped from the parliamentary elections candidates’ list. The committee ended its task late on Thursday night.
According to the committee seven other possible candidates received notices and 27 others received warning that if they are proved to have link with irresponsible gunmen, they will be removed from the final list.The Electoral Complaints Commission has received 500 complaints on possible parliamentary candidates.
In the face of ongoing threats to voters from insurgents and various other terrorist groups, who have already issued warnings to, and threatened people not to participate in the upcoming elections, pressure from candidates to obtain voters’ IDs by offering them money has added to complications in the electoral process.
Therefore, IEC and government agencies responsible for organizing and managing elections should plan for putting in place viable mechanisms to manage the upcoming elections with the least cases of frauds and cheating as well as foil any threats before the people.
Considering continued sufferings of the Afghan people due to ongoing war on terror and providing opportunity for them to rebuild their country’s national institutions, bring about real representatives as parliament members, is one of most important duties before government of Afghanistan and IEC to conduct fair and free elections.
Meanwhile the Afghan masses are also required to participate in the democratic process with full enthusiasm and spare no effort to make the process get success.
Sans their active participation, the legitimacy of the upcoming parliamentary and district councils’ elections to be undermined and the parliament to fall in hands of those people that are involved in human and drug trafficking, corruption, land usurpation and illegal armed activities.

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