Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Electoral Malpractices: Implications on Democratic Consolidation in Afghanistan

It means one thing to conduct an election and make a transition to democracy or even conduct regular elections for years after transition. It also means another thing to have credible election that is generally accepted as free and fair by citizens and international community. Acceptability of election results by stakeholders would therefore increases the chances of consolidation of democracy. 
Since democratic consolidation is an embodiment of longevity of a civilian regime as well as recognition and respect of democratic institutions, fairness, freest and credible elections must not therefore be an exception to these embodiments. The Wolesi Jirga elections held on 20 and 21 of October 2018, in Afghanistan, has been termed as a weak and miss managed election by most Afghan citizens. Political scholars argue that, if national elections are not held in a fair, free and transparent manner, they would have severe negative consequences for democracy. The implications of Electoral malpractices therefore manifest in issues such as disrespect and outright violations of electoral act with impunity due to weak democratic institutions, electoral violence, ethno-religious politics, rampant corruption and mismanagement, poverty and lack of internal democracy which is visible in incumbency factor in politics.
The moral foundation of the state in its capability to meet its obligation to the citizens, and citizen’s ability to obey the laws of the state has been questioned. As instructively observed, these issues which have triggered electoral crises are mostly technical and logistical problems, however for many politicians, winning election is more important than deaths that occurs due to application of violence as part of their overall campaign strategy. For Afghanistan politicians it’s either to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents, or to disrupt the process outright when it is clear that they are not of the winning side of the divide. This makes our democracy to remain nascent and unconsolidated thereby leading to minimal benefit emanating from it. It is therefore visible how democracy and not election is the problem in the Afghanistan System. 
Elections play a vital in democratic consolidation in a country. Thus, the evidence reveals that the strict adherence to democratic values and ideals will bring about good democratic governance in the country. It shows the need for resuscitating the decaying democratic institutions, attitudes, resources and infrastructure at all levels of society as it affects electoral process for effective quest for democratic governance. Afghanistan needs to combat incumbency, violence, corruption and impunity so as to enhance the electoral process. As a result, unless the political leaders strictly adhere to the application of rule of law, constitutionalism and democratic values, the legitimacy of government and consolidation of democracy may not be sustained in our country.