Members of the Security Council on Tuesday night welcomed the holding of parliamentary elections in Afghanistan last weekend and stressed that the elections, which have been carried out under difficult security conditions under full Afghan ownership, constitute an important moment in the democratic development in Afghanistan.
In a statement issued by the Security Council its members commended the participation and courage of Afghans, including the engagement of Afghan women in the elections both as voters and candidates.
They also reiterated their continued support for the Afghan government and people of Afghanistan in their efforts to develop sustainable democratic institutions.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated the important role of the Afghan electoral institutions, including the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission, and called on these institutions to redouble efforts to ensure the integrity, neutrality and transparency of the electoral process, including with regards to the detection and prevention of fraud and the observation of the tabulation and announcement of results,” the statement read.
In reference to the delay in voting in Kandahar, the members of the Security Council noted that it was important for elections to be conducted in the southern province.
Elections were postponed for a week in Kandahar following the assassination of the provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq last week.
The Security Council meanwhile called on all stakeholders to engage with the electoral institutions and processes with patience and respect, to continue to refrain from civil disorder and any acts that incite violence or lead to instability, and to channel complaints through the established institutional mechanisms in line with Afghanistan’s electoral laws and constitution.
The statement came in the wake of the IEC’s announcement on Tuesday that they will start counting votes from the weekend’s parliamentary elections on Wednesday in Kabul.
On Tuesday, election commission officials said all election materials, including the preliminary results, have been transferred from polling centers to the provincial capitals.
IEC spokesman Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi said they will start counting votes, from all polling centers around the country, in Kabul on Wednesday.
“Vote counting has been finished at polling stations and polling centers. Tomorrow vote counting will start,” said Hashemi. All ballot boxes will eventually be brought to Kabul.
Afghanistan’s long-awaited parliamentary elections were held on Saturday, October 20, and at some polling centers on Sunday, in 32 provinces of the country. However elections in Ghazni were postponed a few months ago due to security issues and Kandahar elections were held over for a week following last week’s assassination of Raziq.