Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 21st, 2018

Paradox of Afghan Political Parties: Democratic Demands AND Non-Democratic Values

Afghan Political parties are pushing hard to change the electoral system of the country. They claim that the current electoral system is not inclusive. According to these groups the electoral system shall change from the single non-transferable vote to the party based system. They already have developed a joint plan related to the election system named as (MDR) on 29 Sawr 1397 (19 May) and handed over a written version of the plan to the quadrilateral commission. However, their demands were rejected by the government due to financial, timing and technical shortcomings. Thus, they say they would pressure the government to meet their demands to ensure the fundamentals and basics of democracy are observed in the coming elections. As a result, Supporters and representatives of political parties staged a demonstration in Kabul and closed main roads in different parts of capital Kabul to press the government to accept their election-related demands. These demands include allowing representatives of political parties to monitor the conduct of elections; changing the current Single None-Transferrable Vote (SNTV) system to a transferable vote system and launching of a fresh voter registration through biometric system.
Opposing viewpoints about the current status of Afghan political parties
Firs, According to studies two thirds of the strongest political parties, of Afghanistan   are currently led by former warlords who commanded large groups of armed men.The organizational structure of most Afghan political parties is patriarchal; in other words, democratic political mobility between different levels of these parties is not democratic based. As the leadership change role show in these political parties, nearly all previous political leaders have been replaced by their sons or their first degree-relatives. Further, most of the current political parties are former militia based-parties. Indeed, such a political background and mobility pattern trace back to the traditional political systems that are incapable to address the current needs of the society. Dominance of such approaches in the Afghan political parties shows that they do not believe in democratic political values and miss-use democratic values to sustain their family interests.
Second, some other political analysts hold that there are signs that Afghan political parties are slowly shifting their leadership approaches and political mobility between their political structures. Also, as party candidates have fared better in previous elections than independent candidates, and some former militia-based parties have been making the first steps towards the democratization of their leadership structures. Also, in the case of the formerly militia-based Junbesh, the leadership of the party is now governed democratically -- by a board of twelve deputy chairmen who vote on all party decisions. In other former militia-associated parties, the foreign-educated sons and daughters of prominent warlords are starting to take on roles within the organizations, and their visions for their parties’ future involve greater democratization. However, these groups may embrace greater democratization in the future, but their current leadership selection model is non-democratic.
The political parties of Afghanistan ask the government to ensure the fundamentals and basics of the democracy are observed in Afghanistan including in the coming elections. However, democratic participation and playing due political roles in the structure and activities of the political parties are the basics of political rights of the citizens and members of a political party. The current political leadership mobility among majority of the afghan political parties’ show they do not observe such fundamentals of democracy. Afghan citizens value the demands of the political parties calling the government to ensure the fundamentals and basics of the democracy in the elections and any other political, social, cultural and economic contexts. However, they also want these parties to be the pioneers of role models institutionalizing the fundamentals and basics of the democracy in the country and take the practical steps to change their values in order to have democratic political parties who really represent all Afghan citizens regardless of their religion, language, ethnicity, locality and any other discriminatory classifications.