Political Landscape

2010 Elections 14: Voices from Paktia


Gardez-women-PC

Amongst high official turnout figures, the first results being announced and reports of irregularities coming in from all corners of Southeast Afghanistan, it is also perception which counts. Here some voices from Paktia, some with an own interest to be elected, other from an impartial position.

‘This was not an election, but a selection.’

Two candidates, in the same words and independent from each other

‘This was no election, outside Gardez it was all fraud.’
An observer

‘You know yourself that it is very difficult for woman in Paktia to cast their vote. They cannot cast their votes themselves. Many of them are not allowed to leave the house – because of fear, because of the security situation.’
A female candidate

‘I estimate that half of the votes cast [in the province] are fake.’
An observer

‘In Mamaray [Gardez’ kuchi polling centre], there was a lot of disorder. People came who had a lot of cards, of women and of other people.’
Employee of an election institution

‘In Kalgar [PC in Seyyed Karam district], there were ballot papers left when the PVC closed. So, the policemen guarding the centre proposed to distribute them amongst the candidates – for money.’
An observer

‘In Seyyed Karam centre, the boxes of three polling centres – Kalgar, Masjid-e Khandikhel and Khandikhel Bhai hujra – remained uncounted and open in the evening. The observers and FEFA people were sent away. When they returned next morning, these boxes were counted, sealed and the papers for them stamped.’
The same observer

‘In Mirzaka [Seyyed Karam district], the election were not one per cent democratic! Everything was pre-determined by the tribes, the votes distributed between the wand [sub-village unit].’
A candidate agent from the area

‘In Surkai [a PC in Zurmat district], all the boxes were delivered to the police headquarters and filled “under the trees”. But then the people complained, and the DFC and his staff were arrested.’
A female candidate

‘In Dand-e Patan clinic [a PC], the DFC told the voters that I had been disqualified so that they would cast their vote for [another candidate].’
The same female candidate

‘The Bayat Hospital [in Gardez] was inaugurated three times, for the sake of the campaign of two candidates.’
Another candidate

‘The IEC and the police did a good job. They have confiscated a lot of false voter cards and even arrested people who used such cards.’
Campaigner of another candidate

‘This election was completely undemocratic.’
Another candidate

‘These are not the kind of elections we thought they would be.’
Another candidate

‘The first elections [in 2005] were more transparent and legitimate. The people still did not know the fraud techniques.’
An observer

‘The degree of fraud also depends on the degree of training the observers get.’
The same observer

‘The IEC staff in Tera school needs to be commended. They did not allow the tribal elders to use the cards of their women.’
The same observer

‘The interest in voting was very low. You know this because almost no PC ordered additional ballot papers.’
Another observer

‘We will see tomorrow. But I believe it will be very difficult to judge what happened in the districts. I don’t believe that there will be transparency.’
A female candidate, one day before election day

‘When there were almost no elections in Paktia – how can there be elections in Paktika?’
A campaigner

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Thematic Category: Political Landscape