The electoral commission has promised fairness however the Taliban and corruption threaten to derail the long-delayed process [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]
Afghanistan is defined to vote in long-delayed parliamentary elections for the 3rd time because the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
The polls, that have been scheduled for early 2015 originally, october 20 because of security fears and reforms in the voter registration process were last pushed to.
The Afghan government has striven to make sure people that it’ll be safe to vote, however in a country wracked by violence – largely due to attacks by the Taliban armed group – most are still wary.
The Taliban has vowed to disrupt the “bogus elections”.
“Those people who are trying to assist in holding this technique successfully by giving security ought to be targeted no stone ought to be left unturned for the prevention and failure [of the elections],week ” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement last.
Here is what you must know concerning the upcoming elections:
When’s election day?
Saturday, October 20. Polls open at 7am (02:30 GMT) and close at 4pm (12:30 GMT).
There are 21,000 polling stations in 5,100 polling centres in the country’s 33 participating provinces.
What are people voting for?
The Afghan parliament comprises the Mesherano Jirga (upper house) and the Wolesi Jirga (lower house).
Saturday’s vote will be for the Wolesi Jirga, whose elected parliamentarians serve five-year terms.
There are 250 seats in the Wolesi Jirga, including 10 seats which are reserved for Kuchis (nomads) and something jointly for the Sikh and Hindu communities. There has to be 68 female representatives, with each province having a minumum of one.
The Meshrano Jirga includes parliamentarians chosen from local councils and the ones appointed by the president, along with members elected in district elections.
Who can vote?
All Afghan citizens that are 18 years or older with a valid voter identification card have the proper to vote.
In order to obtain a valid card, Afghans registered themselves on a fresh biometric system that has been set up to avoid voter fraud.
All previously issued registration cards have already been cancelled.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced that 8,918,107 folks have registered to vote in the elections, which 3,067,918 are women and 5,681,592 are men.
The IEC said that more 600,000 registrations were cancelled because they were invalid for various reasons.
Who will be the candidates?
According to the IEC, you can find 2,565 candidates running in the Wolesi Jirga elections, 417 of whom are women.
A total of 205 – nearly eight percent – of candidates have registered as members of political parties. The others are independent candidates.
According to an Afghan Analyst Network count, Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum’s party, Jonbesh-e Melli-ye Islami, gets the most candidates, with 44, including eight women.
It is accompanied by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami with 42, including two women; and Deputy LEADER Haji Muhammad Mohaqqeq’s party, Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami-ye Mardom, with 22 candidates, including five women.
Will the complete country vote simultaneously?
Voting in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar will undoubtedly be delayed by seven days third , week’s assassination of the powerful provincial police commander, General Abdul Raziq.
The election may also not happen in the eastern province of Ghazni because of two intertwined issues: firstly, the precarious security situation in the province due to a advanced of Taliban activity and their complete control over some elements of it; and secondly, the ongoing dispute over how exactly to divide Ghazni’s electoral constituencies to get a more balanced ethnic representation.
In the 2010 parliamentary elections, the Pashtuns and Tajiks of Ghazni weren’t in a position to cast ballots because voting cannot be held within their Taliban-controlled areas. This led to the Hazaras, a minority community, winning all of the seats in Ghazni, leaving the Pashtuns and Tajiks without representation.
Why is this election important?
The Afghan government aims to send a note to the Taliban with this particular election: that regardless of the ongoing violent campaigns by the armed group, the federal government is functioning and that the Taliban must arrived at the negotiating table by way of a political process acceptable to all or any Afghans.
What will be the challenges?
The Taliban, who’ve been fighting Afghan and US-led NATO forces for days gone by 17 years, have rejected the elections and warned candidates and Afghan security forces they will be targeted, as would schools whose premises will be used as polling stations.
The IEC said in a statement on Wednesday that at the very least 10 candidates have already been killed since July.
At least 2,000 polling stations which were threatened by the Taliban will stay closed directly.
Local media reported that some 70,000 soldiers will be deployed across Afghanistan to supply security.
Meanwhile, the IEC has had measures in order to avoid possible vote-rigging in a national country with a brief history of voter fraud.
A couple of weeks prior to the election, the federal government introduced a biometric system which records each voter’s photo and fingerprints so as to register.
Following the polls, these details will be delivered to the IEC’s main data centre where it’ll be checked for repeat votes.
The election will undoubtedly be observed by a lot more than 400,000 civil society activists, local election watchdog institutions and representatives from media outlets.
When will the outcomes be announced?
Ballot counting will start upon the final outcome of voting at 4pm Kabul amount of time in the current presence of election observers.
The IEC have not set a timeline for announcing official results, inside a month but preliminary email address details are expected.