KABUL: Campaigning for Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary elections started on Friday, as a crescendo of deadly violence and claims of widespread fraud fuel debate over whether or not or not the vote will go ahead.
Higher than 2,500 candidates will contest the October 20 poll, which is seen as a verify run for subsequent 12 months’s presidential vote and a key milestone ahead of a UN meeting in Geneva the place Afghanistan is under stress to level out progress on “democratic processes”.
Nonetheless preparations for the ballot, which is bigger than three years late, have been in turmoil for months, no matter UN-led efforts to keep up Afghan organisers on observe.
Bureaucratic inefficiency, allegations of industrial-scale fraud and now an eleventh-hour pledge for biometric verification of voters threaten to derail the election and any hope of a good end result.
It should seemingly be “extraordinarily flawed”, a Western diplomat admitted this week, reflecting falling expectations all through Kabul’s worldwide neighborhood, which is providing lots of the funding for the elections.
The Neutral Election Payment (IEC) has insisted voting will go ahead, with or with out the biometric machines which have been demanded by opposition groups to cease people from voting higher than as quickly as.
Solely four,400 out of the 22,000 German-made machines ordered have been delivered to Afghanistan, officers acknowledged.
“They’ve promised (biometric verification) and they also might do it, nevertheless will or not it is worthwhile in dispelling the problems? I’m unsure,” Afghanistan Analysts Group researcher Ali Yawar Adili acknowledged.
The guidelines of candidates, which has been trimmed to 2,565 after 35 have been expelled, are competing for 249 seats throughout the lower residence, whose members are extensively derided as corrupt and ineffective.
Printed in Dawn, September 29th, 2018