Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Scheduled Elections In Afghanistan: What Prospects? – Analysis

2 min

Eurasia Review, 11 May 2018

In this analysis of the upcoming Afghan elections, author  Pakistani Brigadier (Retd.) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan, quotes extensively from AAN reports – adding up to around half of his text:

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) is an independent non-profit policy research and analysis organization, registered as an association in Germany and Afghanistan, and is funded in large part by Scandinavian countries (2). It has been publishing a series of reports relating to the ‘oft-announced and oft-postponed’ elections in Afghanistan. These reports succinctly highlight the serious problems involved in ‘imposing’ such elections.

The AAN’s Report no. 6 discusses in detail the serious problems relating to these elections scheduled for 20 October this year (3). Some of the aspects mentioned in the repo[r]t are:

a. Because of the inability of holding the elections on the two previously announced dates, the current Lower House of The Parliament is already existing extra-constitutionally after 22 June 2015.

b. The snowfall season in Afghanistan is likely to commence towards the end of October. Considering the difficult terrain of the country, if snow falls by 20 October, it will greatly hinder the voter participation in the election. And, according to the ANA report, “Snowfall disenfranchising voters in a politically weak province like Nuristan would be bad enough, but if it occurred in Badakhshan or Hazarajat, with their highly organised and politically and ethnically conscious voters, there could be real trouble”.

c. “However, the challenges are so formidable that other diplomats are questioning how realistic it is to expect an election in October, particularly one that is ‘inclusive’, ie where parts of the electorate are not excluded by weather or war.”

d. Senior Deputy Minister of Interior Murad Ali Murad gave a security assessment of the polling centres; mentioning that out of the 7355 polling centres, 56.6 % were located in the places which enjoy normal state of security, but the remaining 43.4 % were located in the places which were “either in areas under medium or high threat, or completely outside government control”.

In this ANA’s [sic] report the particularly noteworthy are the observations: “The Afghan government is the main party responsible for the mess is now finds itself in. Neither camp in the National Unity Government pushed for electoral reform immediately after they took office, as they had promised”; and “Those actors in the international community who have continued to stress that parliamentary and district elections must be held in 2018 in a largely still unreformed framework are also far from being free of blame. Some appear to be worried more about the appearance of a political process progressing ‘normally’ (despite the three years’ delay already in the parliamentary vote) than about qualitatively reliable elections”.

The latest AAN’s Report no. 7 discusses in detail the deficiencies in the polling centres assessment, despite the regulations for ensuring fair enfranchisement to voters (4). This report highlights, “As yet, the IEC’s polling centre assessment exercise remains deficient. If matters are not clarified, this means the integrity of the forthcoming elections is already in doubt”.