Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Political Landscape

This thematic category encompasses AAN’s reporting on Afghanistan’s major political events, including elections, the formation of cabinets and other appointments, the key political actors and their trajectories, and the many under-reported political trends.

Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (20): Women candidates going against the grain

Jelena Bjelica Rohullah Sorush

On 20 October, more than 400 female candidates will compete for the 68 parliamentary seats reserved for women. Many more women – there are over three million registered female voters – will cast their votes on Saturday, in an attempt to have their say on who represents them in the lower house of the parliament. […]

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Afghanistan Election Conundrum (19): A young ‘wave of change’ for the Wolesi Jirga?

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s parliamentary election campaign ended on Wednesday 17 October 2018 with the killing of Helmand candidate Jabbar Qahraman by a mine explosion in his campaign office – the fifth candidate killed during the campaign period. “Taghir” – change – has been a key word in many of the campaigns and a hope expressed by many […]

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Herat city is adorned with campaign posters - here in Tank-e Markaz Square – but the further you go out into the districts, the more campaigning diminishes in the face of insurgency and insecurity (Photo: Said Reza Kazemi: October 2018)

Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (18): A lively election campaign amid growing insecurity in Herat

S Reza Kazemi

There is a vibrant electoral atmosphere in Herat city and nearby district centres. Rival political forces have brought supporters onto the streets to show their power and candidates have opened campaign headquarters and engaged in a range of heated campaign activities. In the midst of the bustle, there are also concerns over a series of […]

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Walls, trees and pylons in Maimana are all papered with candidates’ posters ahead of the upcoming elections. Candidates are having to concentrate on the provincial capital given that insecurity is making it difficult or impossible to get to other the districts. Photo: Ali Yawar Adili, October 2018

Afghanistan Elections Conundrum (17): Voters disenfranchised in Faryab

Ali Yawar Adili

Almost two-thirds of voters in Faryab will not be able to vote in the 20 October parliamentary elections after insecurity prevented them from registering. Since voter registration ended in early July, the government has seen an even further loss of control and more than a dozen additional polling centres have since closed. AAN’s Ali Yawar […]

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10 days 15 hours, 35 minutes and 13 seconds to go: The IEC's count down to the 20 October 2018 parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. Source: Screenshot from the IEC website, at the time of uploading this dispatch

Afghanistan Election Conundrum (16): Basic facts about the parliamentary elections

AAN Team Thomas Ruttig

Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has posted a clock on its home page that counts down the time remaining until the 20 October parliamentary election (minus Ghazni province). That’s a nice gag. It would also have been good if a counter had been provided to show, for example, the total number of registered voters (on its […]

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Supporters of some disqualified candidates including MullahTarakhel and Zardad Faryadi shut down the IEC headquarters in Kabul from 13 to 25 August in protest against the ECC’s decision to debar them from standing in 20 October elections. Photo credit: Tolonews

Afghanistan Election Conundrum (15): A contested disqualification of candidates

Ali Yawar Adili

The campaign by more than 2,600 candidates to secure votes in the Afghan parliamentary elections is in full swing, for over a week now. 35 would-be MPs, however, are not running. They have been barred from standing by the Electoral Complaints Commission, chiefly for ties to illegal armed groups. In this piece, AAN’s Ali Yawar […]

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On 29 August, the IEC reported that it had designed the ballot papers for 20 October poll and sent it to Dubai for printing. But no ballots designed for district council elections and Ghazni parliamentary elections. Photo: IEC.

Afghanistan Election Conundrum (14): District council and Ghazni parliamentary elections quietly dropped

Ali Yawar Adili

It has emerged that, without any announcement or formal decision taken, district council elections and Wolesi Jirga elections in Ghazni will not be taking place as planned on 20 October. A special committee of senior government officials had been tasked in early August to rule on an IEC proposal to delay both elections. It has […]

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Afghanistan Election Conundrum (13): New voter registry too good to be true

Scott Warden

One of the main goals of Afghanistan launching a new voter registration process – a key provision of the 2014 National Unity Government Agreement – was to more accurately match the number of ballot papers to the number of voters in any given area. It was hoped this would reduce the opportunities for ballot stuffing. […]

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The Afghanistan Election Conundrum (12): Good news and bad news about district numbers

Thomas Ruttig

Afghan authorities have solved one of the most long-standing and consequential problems in the country‘s complex election system: the number of districts. It is 387. This is pending a final decision by parliament, as there are some so-called ‘temporary’ districts that could boost the number. If parliament takes this issue up, however, there is a […]

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Afghanistan Election Conundrum (11): Electoral reform and the preparations for the 2018 elections – a summary

Ali Yawar Adili

Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for 20 October this year, three and a half years late. They were delayed so that the electoral system could be reformed – although what that delay achieved in terms of reforms, is questionable. The country’s first district elections are also still scheduled for the same day, although the Independent Election Commission […]

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Afghanistan Election Conundrum (10): Failure to hold the first ever district council elections?

Ali Yawar Adili

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has proposed a delay in the district council elections, citing a lack of candidates. According to a report from the body, only a tenth of the country’s districts have enough male and female candidates to compete. The IEC listed several reasons as to why so few people wanted to stand: […]

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The IEC office in Ghazni city remained closed from 28 April to 27 June. A banner hanged by protesters on its gate says: “We Ghazni people do not want the bitter disaster of the past to be repeated in the Wolesi Jirga elections.”

The Afghanistan Election Conundrum (9): The 2010 Ghazni spectre rears its head again

Ali Yawar Adili

Protests continue in front of the Independent Election Commission’s office in Ghazni, though it was able to reopen on 27 June following a 63-day sit-in protest at its gates that shut it down, stymying election preparations throughout the province. This comes despite the IEC’s legally problematic about-face to split Ghazni province’s electoral constituencies for the […]

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