Survey Reveals Majority of Afghans Support Elections
 
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A recent survey conducted by the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) indicates roughly 92 percent of Afghans support the holding of presidential and provincial council elections in April, and 75 percent want to participate.

When asked about their concerns ahead of the elections, the majority of respondents listed electoral fraud as their biggest worry. Security ranked as only the fourth most cited concern of Afghans, in contrast to growing speculation about security issues in the international media.

"Our findings show that the majority of Afghans are willing to cast votes in the elections, which is good news, but they are concerned about the possibility of rigging and fraud," FEFA Chairman Nadir Naderi said.

Surprisingly, the greatest interest in participating in the elections was among those surveyed in the southern provinces of Afghanistan, while those in Kabul and the central region of the country more broadly expressed little interest.

When asked what their views were on the transparency of the upcoming elections, 43 percent of all respondents said they do not believe the vote will be transparent, 25 percent said it will be, and the remaining 32 percent said they don't know.

The survey offered encouraging signs when it came to voters deciding on what candidates to support. FEFA officials said most respondents said they would make their decisions independent of influence from family members and tribal elders.

"The majority of Afghan people, having learned from their last election experience, want to make an independent decision and not on the guidance of another person," Naderi said. "This is a good change toward democracy in Afghanistan."

However, the survey also suggested that most Afghans believe foreign countries will have an influence on the elections; 87 percent said the U.S. would have the most impact, 71 percent said Pakistan would and 63 percent said Iran.

FEFA also asked Afghans what they expected the presidential candidates to focus on if elected. "The survey shows that the people of Afghanistan expect three things from the presidential candidates: security, social justice and education."

The FEFA survey was given to a random sample of 4,040 Afghans across the country.

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