Afghanistan's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) pledged on Sunday to ensure Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election will be a transparent and democratic process in response to Japan's donation of $8.6 million.
Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, IEC Chairman Fazal Ahmad Manawi said that the no one will be allowed to interfere in the decision of the commission.
"The election is a political process; anyone will try to interfere in order to win the election. We provide the opportunity for candidates to compete in a legal and democratic manner, and we will not allow anyone - neither the candidates nor the government - to interfere in this process," he said.
Announcing a donation from Japan of $8.6 million for capacity building within the IEC and for the election process, Manawi promised that all the expenses would be transparent and the officials would be accountable.
Japan, one of the leading regional donors of Afghanistan, wants a free and fair election process in Afghanistan in order to promote a democratic regime in the country, its representative said.
Japan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Reiichiro Takahashi said that the Afghan government needs good governance to attract investors.
"The Afghan government should have good governance and provide an encouraging situation for the investors," he said, adding that Japan along with the international community was in support of the upcoming presidential election.
UNDP Director Alvaro Rodriguez welcomed the contribution from Japan saying it will help improve the IEC.
"The UNDP is very grateful for this contribution from the Government of Japan which will improve transparent, accountable and sustainable election administration, and build greater public confidence in the electoral process. This project will support the capacity and development of a permanent and independent electoral administration in Afghanistan, and the capacity of the IEC to prepare the next elections," Rodriguez said.
The last presidential election in 2009 was seen to be marred with allegations of massive fraud and irregularities with more than a million votes marked as invalid by an election watchdog panel.