Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, November 16th, 2019

Presidential Election is a Golden Opportunity to Strengthen Democracy in Afghanistan

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Presidential Election is a Golden Opportunity  to Strengthen Democracy in Afghanistan

In recent weeks, the election campaigns have been decentralized from Kabul to remote provinces and main districts of Afghanistan.  The Presidential candidates have increased their trips to remote provinces so as to explain their programs to the people. On the other hand, people warmly participate in election campaign gatherings to hear the programs of the presidential candidates. Few days ago Mr. Sarwar Danesh went to Jaghori and warmly welcomed with bunches of flowers and large gathering of people including men, women, intellectuals and other elders of Jaghori people. Thus, he traveled to Daikundi and other provinces facing with unprecedented warm welcome of huge number of people.
In general, election has become as a hot topic among the citizens; everywhere has beatified with posters, slogans and pictures of presidential candidate members. Every citizen including students, teachers, drivers, shop keepers and other social gatherings are talking about their favorite candidates. Social media network users, especially face-book users have become more active; they post hundreds of pictures, notes, slogans and comments against or in interests of their favorite candidates. These all show the interests and readiness of Afghan people for participation in the upcoming presidential election. 
Given the positive reaction to cancellation of faulty peace process by Donald Trump and warm welcome to presidential candidates, especially from the current president and his team, people will say no to extremist groups by warm participation in the upcoming election. Also, given the social diversity of the country and bitter experience from the past, people have gotten the right path which is election and overall promotion of democracy in the country. Therefore, Afghan people seem very determined to participate in the upcoming election at any cost but not repeat the unfortunate circumstances of the past.
In fact, people of Afghanistan realized that election is the most important national programs which determine the future of nation.  The alternatives to election are only war, sovereignty of ethnic and family-oriented system and overall social and political disorder. As aforementioned, the people of Afghanistan have experienced all these situations in past and have endured their bloody and harmful consequences. Therefore, in spite of security threats and repeated warnings of Taliban, people welcome the election and will have widespread participation on the Election Day.
According to some political experts, a transparent election is the most important way to fight against Taliban and increase legitimacy of the government. Holding election and widespread participating in election is a big no to Emirate and extremist system in the country. Estimated, around 7 million people will participate in the election, it means that absolute majority of Afghan people do not want Emirate. If this happens, no power will be able to impose its barbaric system on majority of people while they have international allies also beside them. In this case, Taliban will have no way, except meaningful talks to the republican people of Afghanistan.
Thus, Taliban will come to confess that peace talks will not be enough with the US. They will understand that a sustainable peace is possible through meaningful negotiation with opposition of emirate and proponent of republicanism in the country. So, election is the greatest capital of Afghan people provided that not spoiled with poor management and security threats imposed by terrorists. Otherwise, a poor election many reopen the way to Emirate and other extremist groups in the country. Consequently, all people of Afghanistan men and women, officials and non-officials should try to succeed the upcoming election.
Overall the widespread participation in the upcoming election has many benefits summarized as follow: firstly, it will not only legitimize the election and next Afghan government, but also delegitimize its alternative options in the public opinion on condition that succeed to hold a sound election in the country.  In recent years, different alternations have been raised such as interim government, Emirate and so on because the Independent Election Commissions (IEC), as responsible entities, was not successful in institutionalization of election and smooth transition of power in the country. 
Secondly, the widespread and successful election will show the hatred of people from terrorism and return of Emirate in the country. Unfortunately, until recent days a number of politicians wanted to cancel the presidential election and change the type of political system through establishment of interim government. These issues have raised serious concerns and hopelessness in the public opinion regarding past 18 years achievements, but people never retreated from their positions. Now that everything has retuned on its right path, we must not spoil this national and historic opportunity of the country. From one hand, we should widely participate in the election and on the other hand, we must not repeat the experience of last elections. 
Thirdly, widespread election participation will strengthen and institutionalize the democratic process in the country. As a result, people will get confident to use its votes as democratic means of choosing their political leaders. Though Afghan people have experienced several elections with going to the ballot box but, democratic believes have not institutionalized, especially in remote parts of the country. In remote parts of the country, majority of people live with their old and traditional values.  In addition, the election process faced many ups and downs due to poor management of IEC in recent years. So, everyone including Election Commissions officials, election bodies, security official, electoral candidates, media and others should try to keep the electoral environment hot and stop any movements which discourage the people from participation in the election process.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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