Major Challenges Ahead of Women Voters: FEFA
 
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Afghan women will face major challenges in the upcoming presidential election because of the "inappropriate" traditions and insecurity, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said Thursday.

FEFA executive director Jandad Spinghar said in an advisory meeting with the Afghan MPs that unfair propaganda against women also prevented them nominating themselves for upcoming elections. He urged the Ministry of Women's Affairs to provide opportunities for women to participate in the upcoming elections.

"The main challenges for women are insecurity and the inappropriate traditions and culture. Some people are doing unfair propaganda against women which is a big blow for women from being nominated in the elections," he said at the gathering organised to discuss ways to increase women's participation in the upcoming elections.

"We are trying to launch a strategy in consultation with the Afghan MPs and we hope the Ministry of Women's Affairs supports this," FEFA's women department chief Marzia Faraz said at the gathering.

The MPs present at the gathering welcomed FEFA's efforts and called for the government to help establish and implement this strategy.

"Having a clear strategy for women to participate in the election will be very good," Kabul MP Shukria Barekzai said.

"Negotiations are needed on how women can participate in this election," Kabul MP Farkhuda Zahra Naderi said.

Other participants, including the Afghan Women Network chief Frozan Mashal also voiced their support for the strategy.

"As a representative of Civil Society Organization, I support the strategy," She said.

With the election less than 16 months away, concerns over insecurity, lack of demographic data, use of old election cards and several other obstacles also remain to be addressed before the April 5 poll.

President Hamid Karzai's opposition to two foreign commissioners on the board of the Election Complaints Commission is also a major hurdle which is yet to be resolved, MPs said.

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