The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Tuesday that the election management body is planning to develop a new strategy aimed at preventing pre-election campaigns ahead of the July 20 presidential polls.
The announcement comes following fresh waves of criticisms by election observers who alleged that some presidential candidates have already undertaking such a number of political activities which can be evaluated as pre-election campaigns. They said that pre-election campaign violates the election law and must be stopped immediately.
“A procedure does not exist, but the new leadership of the commission wants to develop a procedure to limit or take under control pre-election campaigns,” said Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, deputy spokesman to the IEC.
Election observers have suggested the election commission to take legal actions against those candidates who violate the electoral law.
They said recent trips by President Ashraf Ghani to various provinces where he inaugurated some development projects can be evaluated as election campaigns.
“This violates electoral justice when a candidate who has control over a lot of resources misuses it and acts in contravention of the law and that no one is there to prevent it, but another candidate respects the law and avoids pre-election campaign, because he knows that the election law does not allow it ,” said Habibullah Shinwari, member of Election Watch Afghanistan.
This comes as Ghani visited Kunar province, in the east of Afghanistan, last week, where he inaugurated work a number of development projects, but some activists from the province said the projects were already inaugurated by local officials.
“A big hall will be built like the Salam Khana Palace, it will have a gymnasium too with 2,000 guests capacity. Today the foundation stone was laid,” said Ghani during his trip to Kunar last week.
In recent days, Ghani’s political rivals in the elections have also said that the president has already launched his election campaigns.
“Governance which is deceiving the people and inaugurating projects every day which were inaugurated before two or three times. Such a governance cannot resolve the problems of the country,” said presidential candidate Mohammad Haneef Atmar at a ceremony last week.
The election commission has set 19 May for the start of the election campaign.