Nearly six months has passed since Independent Election Commission (IEC) has officially launched, and yet meaningful silence and confusions are dominating electoral processes. It’s quite obvious that elections is impossible to be held this year and that increases concerns over deterioration of political, security, social and economy situation of the country and also help promoting overruling the country’s constitution and other laws. The National Assembly seem to be grateful of the current order despite expiration of their term and the national unity government is pre-occupied over political deals and enjoying the expired and weaken National Assembly. The electoral bodies are seem to be clueless on any electoral reforms, plan, their mandates and responsibilities. Meanwhile, the international community seem to be playing as observers of the situation and made no effort to impact the situation so far.
Based on recent development, IEC has started identifying the electoral boundaries in the country and this is happening while borders of provinces and districts are undetermined and electronic national ID and new voting ID card is yet to be issued and that is certainly not something to get accomplished in a year. The election budget and its sources is unclear and more importantly the fate of electoral reform by the election commission and other involved entities, to promote transparency and legitimacy of elections, is indistinctive. People are tired of waiting and expecting clarity on elections fate.
TEFA is well aware and believes that serious challenges exist which not only makes the elections impossible to be held this year, but also undermine claim of elections in coming solar year. Some of major challenges are as follows;
- No electoral reform implemented to reinforce election transparency and restore public confidence on elections.
- Lack of political will to do the elections among National Unity government.
- On-going inconsecutive political competition among governmental officials and vast of time, energy and public budget over that.
- Development of corruption in governmental bodies and seizing of IEC’s electoral plans and decisions by the government.
- Increase of insecurity and lack of a comprehensive plan to improve the situation.
- Lack of attention on complexity of elections as district council’s election is to be held for the first time.
- No terms of reference defined for district councils yet.
- Uncertainty on use of technology on elections and no re-action on the result of work of Feasibility study committee on introducing of new technology in Afghanistan by the government.
To get out of this situation, TEFA suggests the government to improve the political and security situation in the country and prove its commitment to holding elections, not in words but in action. Deal with the IEC with honesty and respect its independence with approving its plans and decisions in time. Meanwhile, the IEC has to act upon restoration of public confidence on election processes by applying tangible reforms, insuring its independence, and promote transparency and legitimacy of its actions and come up with a clear plan and time frame for elections. These has to be done in coordination with all involved entities including but not limited to civil societies and international community. The international community also need to be more pro-active. Clarify its programs and commitments on elections and help the IEC, Afghan government and civil societies to hold and manage the elections and reinforce the laws.