A recent report by the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) expresses concern about the nationwide availability of polling stations in the upcoming election, citing the last election’s 7,000 polling centers compared to the current 5,000.
The institution says many polling centers will remain closed in remote areas which would deprive a large number of people from voting.
AAN chief Thomas Ruttig said the institution has researched the activities of the Election Commission for the past nine months. They have observed that the commission lacks sufficient information about some of the centers that will remain closed on the election day.
“Our concern is that people in rural areas might have less chance of voting compared with those living in urban areas. Rutting claims that his group does not have access to complete and accurate information, much as they didn’t for the last election. In both cases, there was not a reliable number of open polling stations.
For example: “The list of the Independent Election Commission shows that some polling centers should remain open in Dasht-e-Archi (district) in Kunduz on the election day, but our assessment shows that it is hard to open polling centers in that district,” said Ali Adili, a researcher at the AAN.
However, Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang, head of the Election Commission’s secretariat, is confident that despite these concerns, a transparent and fair election will occur on September 28.
“We have encouraged our provincial office staff to stay active, as we want a transparent election from our colleagues on September 28,” he said.
Figures by the Election Commission reveal that almost 9.6 million people have registered to vote in the presidential election, in which 15 candidates are contending.