President Ashraf Ghani has directed the Central Statistic Organization (CSO) to use “modern technology” to specify the exact number of voters who will appear at polling stations on elections day.
According to President Ghani’s decree, the CSO should cooperate with the Independent Election Commission (IEC), securityagencies and other relevant institutions in finding the exact number of the registered voters.
In the decree, the Ministry of Finance and the National Procurement Authority have been tasked to cooperate with the CSO and other departments in allocation of budget and procurement of the technology.
Afghanistan's Central Civil Registration Authority (ACCRA) meanwhile said they are ready to help the CSO in determining the voters numbers.
“We are ready to fully cooperate with the Central Statistics Organization. If they need cooperation, our office will cooperate with them,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for ACCRA.
The decree has not given details that whether biometric system will be used for identification of voters on elections day.
The Independent Election Commission has said that over nine million voters have registered their names for the upcoming elections, but a number of political parties have repeatedly claimed that less than five million voters have registered their names.
The parties said government and the election commission want to manipulate the upcoming elections.
The election commission however said the new decree of the president says that biometric system should be used to ensure transparency of the upcoming elections.
“The election commission has not officially received the order, but another department has been assigned to work on biometric system for transparency of elections and we welcome the move,” said Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi, an IEC commissioner.
The political parties so far have held few meetings with government and election commission over issues around electionsincluding the use of a biometric system for voters. Recently they gave government and the election commission a two-week deadline to provide the ground for use of biometric system on elections day, a change in the election system and an approach for monitoring of electoral processes.
The parties have warned if the voting process was not transparent, they will not accept the elections and will close electoral commissions’ offices in Kabul and provinces.
“They have made millions of fraudulent voters and want to open the way for their own candidates to the presidential and parliamentary elections. This will never been acceptable to the Afghan people,” said Amir Mohammad Akhundzada, member of the Coalition for the Salvation of Afghanistan.