Technical problems plaguing preparations for next year’s elections will continue indefinitely unless the budget allocated is paid over to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), said the organization’s deputy head Wasima Badghisi on Wednesday.
Addressing the Second National Election Forum of the Independent Electoral Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, officials said the challenges in place could result in the elections being carried out in the same way as in the past – and not through an e-voting system.
“We should think about alternatives for making the voters list; the alternatives which will be done by using paper. Therefore, we should think about the second method in order to get closer to the parliamentary elections,” Badghisi said.
According to IEC officials, the working groups of the commission have still not assessed over 30 districts in 13 provinces.
“So far we don’t have a trustworthy list of voters names. In the past elections, the number of eligible persons for elections was at least 12 or 13 million but the commission distributed 21 million cards in different phases. Besides that, there were fake cards too,” IEC spokesman Abdulbadi Sayyad said.
“Government and election commissions should act responsibly in issues related to elections,” said Ali Reza Rouhani, spokesman for the Independent Election Complaints Commission.
Foreign envoys meanwhile said the international community will support the electoral process.
"The success of this forum relies upon the commission's honest and timely presentation of the issues at stake. It also depends on your honest and constructive engagement. These issues are at the core of the Afghan democratic process, and the stability of the country. I urge you all to use this forum to contribute to a realistic, successful way forward when challenges arise," said Pernille Kardel, the United Nations Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.
At the same event, MPs said they are concerned about the slow pace of progress by the IEC.
“It would have been good if the election commissioners would appear at the Wolesi Jirga, Lower House of Parliament, and would brief the MPs about all the mechanisms for holding transparent elections,” said Shah Gul Rezaee, an MP.
“This issue must be discussed in a special agenda. This process is a national process,” said Ali Akbar Qasemi, an MP.
This comes after the IEC pledged to hold the upcoming elections by using an e-voting system.