News - Afghanistan
There is no guarantee for a transparent and fair presidential election in 2014 if the registration of voters is not complete, the head of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Wednesday.
Fazel Ahmad Manawe said at a press conference in Kabul that the registration process is expected to get underway by the start of April next year.
"The most important task ahead of us is the registration of voters, this has to be done. Without it, the transparency of elections will not be guaranteed," Manawe said.
According to the IEC estimates, the cost of registering voters is expected to reach $30m.
Lack of clarity on the election law and the IEC's organisational structure are other challenges ahead of the election, Manawe noted, pointing out the Election Law is still pending approval from the Council of Ministers and the question of foreign commissioners is unresolved in the National Assembly.
"I am concerned about the lack of election law and our organisational structure – we need a law to perform based on that. I don't believe the presence or absence of the two foreign advisors in the Election Complaints Commission (ECC) will make any difference in the election process," he said.
"We will not allow any government official to intervene in the election affairs. We will have some advice from the president but we will maintain our independence," he added.
The Lower House approved the election last month including the article allowing two foreigners to be appointed to the ECC, but the article was rejected by the Upper House last week.
According to the timetable announced by IEC, both the presidential and the provincial council polls will be held on April 5 2014.