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

Presidential Elections: Threatened by A Chaotic Technical and Managerial Legacy

While the Independent Election Commission is effortlessly trying to process the National Parliament elections of Afghanistan, and has not announced its results yet, UNAMA has asked the IEC to develop an announce the Afghan Presidential elections Schedule.
The Five year term of President Ghani will end by next 8 months. And based on the Afghanistan constitution, the presidential elections shall be held 2 months prior to the end of the tenure of the current president.  However, the Independent electoral Commission has said it was working on finalizing the presidential elections schedule.
The use of electoral processes to choose the occupants of major public offices has been one of the most striking features of Afghanistan’s post-2001 political transition. Thus, Afghanistan will hold its next presidential election on April 20, 2019. However, the last presidential election in 2014 produced no clear winner after accusations of massive electoral fraud by supporters of both Ghani and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah. As the lengthy dispute between Abdullah and Ghani over the June 14 poll had threatened Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power just months before foreign troops were to withdraw. Alarmed by the impasse, the Obama administration dispatched Kerry to Kabul to mediate. Therefore, after months of argument, the two rivals signed up to a U.S.-brokered deal forming a national unity government, in which Ghani took the presidency and Abdullah took the specially created post of chief executive. 
There is indeed a mystery surrounding the question of the prospects for free, fair, transparent and credible presidential elections in Afghanistan due to different technical and managerial deficiencies the country just experienced in the National Parliamentary elections. And more or less, beyond physical security are questions about the technical security — and transparency — of the election, which will be conducted using a new biometrics system in 2019.  The Afghan parliamentary election was a chaotic one. Because many polling centers failed to open or opened late on October 2o, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) ruled that some could also open the next day. However, only some actually opened the next day and voters were presented with the same bureaucratic and technical difficulties as the first day.  As a result, it came under scathing criticism from the Election Complaints Commission about its management of the election. Then the decision of the Complaint Commission to falsify non-biometric votes further complicated the situations, because many people voted using the previous system, as there was no functional biometric system in many polling stations.
As a result, The Afghan citizens and the international community recall that the Afghan Government, political leaders, and the Independent Electoral Commission and Electoral Complaints Commission carry the primary responsibility to create the necessary conditions for credible elections to take place in 2019.This underscore the importance of developing sustainable democratic institutions in Afghanistan based on inclusive, transparent and credible elections, and stress the need to promote the full and safe participation of women as well as members of minority groups, including ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, both as voters and candidates.
In terms of electoral observation, It is vital that civil society to conduct observation at every polling station to monitor voting, counting, tabulating, and transmission of results. And also appropriate electoral observation missions shall be in place, and the international partners shall provide support at the request of the Afghan Government, and all parties shall facilitate and respect the observers’ work.
In many ways, the parliamentary elections this month were a test run for the presidential elections planned for 2019. As it has been termed as an absolute failure in electoral management, the Afghan government and international community shall develop a comprehensive electoral plan to address the technical and managerial shortfalls in order to have a fair, free, credible and transparent presidential election in 2019.