The Peace and Moderation election ticket led by former National Security Advisor Mohammad Haneef Atmar criticized the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for delaying the presidential elections, saying that the decision has been made without their consultation.
“The (presidential) elections were delayed once again and we were not consulted once again,” said Qadir Shah, a spokesman for Peace and Moderation team. “It seems that government is killing time and is making excuses to remain in power and this is not acceptable to us.”
The decision was also opposed by another presidential candidate, Sayed Noorullah Jalili.
Based on the previous timeline, the elections were scheduled for July 20. The new date for the elections was announced by the new IEC chairperson Hawa Alam Nuristani on Wednesday.
According to Nuristani, the presidential elections, the provincial councils’ elections, the district councils’ elections and Ghazni’s parliamentary elections will be held together on September 28.
Addressing a big crowd in Balkh on Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani said government respects the commission’s decision and will support the electoral body to hold the elections based on the new timetable. However, he emphasized that no more delay will be acceptable.
According to IEC officials, the commission will start voters’ registration process on April.
“The decision was not a delay in election schedule but was a decision to specify the date for presidential elections, provincial councils’ elections and Ghazni parliamentary elections. The commission made the decision based on Article 19 of the amended election law. We chose September 28 to have enough time and be prepared even for a second round of presidential elections,” said Mohammad Abdullah, an IEC commissioner.
Meanwhile, Yusuf Rasheed, the CEO of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, said budgeting for the upcoming elections is a big challenge for the election commission.
“Now the electoral process should be supported financially, and the budget should be provided to the commission because preparing voters list needs time and money,” said Rasheed.
The IEC should register voters by using biometric system based on the amended election law.