Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Political Landscape

What about the voters

Martine van Bijlert 3 min

What about the voters (and the non-voters). Maybe we should listen to them as well. A small collection of random conversation fragments.

“Before the election I called the IEC representative in my area and asked him to arrange votes for [the presidential candidate I was supporting]. He asked me to whom in the provincial council he should also give the vote, but I told him to leave it. These people do nothing for us once they are elected… The people now are not happy and they are not upset. They are busy with their own things. But for a while we were hopeful that maybe change would come. Now we are tired that the result is unclear. And our leaders in Kabul are saying that the foreigners are trying to make a weak government.” – young tribal elder from Uruzgan

“My friends are calling me all the time. They are telling me to be in touch with the IEC and to make sure that my votes don’t become less. But how can I do that, I don’t know anyone there. The people should be the ones to elect their candidates, not the commission, not the fraud… Of course we can accept the fraud for this time, but it will not be for one time, it will be like this every time – that is why we cannot accept it… There is no shame now.” – female provincial candidate from Baghlan

“A second round is difficult, because there are so many places you cannot vote. And if we use the same voter cards, the vote will be as fraudulent as the first time… A coalition government is also not a solution. It will have no legitimacy and it is not the people’s fault that there was so much fraud. You cannot just give them a government they don’t want… The authorities should announce the results and address the fraud. They should prosecute the people who are responsible for the fraud. But it will not happen: the people who did the fraud are also the people who were in the campaign teams. They will instead be rewarded for their work… Karzai and his people are saying that it is normal to have fraud, but it is not true. If it is normal, then why do we have laws?” – former PC candidate from Nangarhar

“A second round, how can we have a second round? Who will be the guarantor? Will London sign a paper that it will pay back 200 million dollar to the UN, if there is so much fraud again? Will Washington pay?” – young trader from Helmand

“The Taliban are quite happy with these elections. It doesn’t matter whether Karzai wins or loses, it is good for us and more people will join… But what this country really needs is a government that has good relations with the people. And the foreigners need to have good relations with the people. If not, whatever they do or however much they give or try, it will not matter.” –southern tribal elder (close to the Taliban)

“The last few months I have just been waiting to see what happens. Journalists have called to ask what I thought about things and I told them that I don’t know. I worry. I look at my suits and my shoes (he does have very nice suits and shoes) and wonder what I will do with them if things go wrong. When I am in my garden (he has a very nice garden) I think that if something happens I may never see my garden again… You are very lucky to live in a country where not much can happen. You may be hit by an economic crisis, but you don’t have to be afraid that you cannot live there anymore… I am happy my family is out. Even if that means that at night I feel like the walls are eating me.” – young Kabul politician

“So has the election been solved yet? Still not? Who are you supporting? A solution that is good for Afghanistan? You cannot find anyone in the whole of Afghanistan who is good for Afghanistan.” – Kandahari businessman


Democratization Elections Government


Martine van Bijlert

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