A group of election observers and representatives of Afghanistan’s mainstream political parties on Thursday held a public debate with members of the Independent Election Commission, or the IEC, on issues around the upcoming presidential polls.
The attendants of the “national conference on elections” criticized the IEC for not having a proper plan for moving forward the electoral process.
Many of the critics at the event claimed that the IEC is making deliberate attempts to prevent a transparent election.
“[The UN chief in Afghanistan Tadamichi] Yamamoto said that only the presidential elections will be held [on September 28], not other elections. This is not acceptable,” said Abdul Sattar Khawasi, member of Hizb-e-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
“When there is a lack of leadership skills and management and someone is not involved with the election environment, lack of planning and lack of political will are among the challenges which underestimate the efforts for elections and are pushing the elections towards failure and they [election commissioners] are doing it deliberately,” said Naeem Ayubzada, the head of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
“Our protest is that we are boycotting Ghazni elections because the reasons they provide are not logical,” said Abdul Jabbar Shalgarai, a former MP.
IEC members, meanwhile, said the electoral process is moving forward well and that the only issue is the budget which will be finalized after a “technical review”.
Last month, the IEC announced that the presidential elections and the Ghazni parliamentary and district councils’ elections will cost $123.
However, an IEC commissioner Mawlana Abdullah said, there will be a reduction in the amount after the budget is reviewed.
“We provided different figures about the budget, but this time, we will make a final decision and it will not be changed,” said Abdul Rahman Nang, head of IEC secretariat.