Observers skeptical about prospects for timely elections

 Thu 13 Jul 2017

KABUL (SW): Election observers and analysts are skeptical about the National Unity Government (NUG)’s promise to hold parliamentary and district council elections next year.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced last month that the much-awaited elections would be held on 07 July 2018. Mohammad Naeem, head of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), told Salam Watandar that he has doubts associated with the election process as the NUG has not taken practical steps towards it so far. He said considering the political situation and raging violence holding elections seems unlikely.

Faiz Mohammad Zaland, an analyst on political affairs, said mounting political pressure on the government compelled it to announce election dates before making necessary arrangements. He noted nothing has been done to establish regional offices, transport material, appoint staff or approve budget in this regard.

Meanwhile, Dawa Khan Menapal, deputy spokesman for President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, has rebuffed these concerns. He told Salam Watandar that the NUG is committed to hold elections in time. Ghani has vowed not to allow any interference in electoral affairs, and promised to hold fair, free and transparent elections in time.