The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) on Thursday started transferring election materials for voter registration to provinces ahead of presidential elections scheduled for September 28 which will officially see the end of President Ashraf Ghani’s five-year mandate.
Habib-ur-Rahman Nang, head of the IEC secretariat said the process will continue until June 8.
The materials will be supplied to 458 polling centers across the country through air and land, he said.
“Based on the election timeline, the voter registration process will begin on 18th of Jawza (June 8),” Nang said. “Today (Thursday), we started the transfer of election materials (to polling centers).”
Eighteen candidates, including President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, are running for president. Abdullah Abdullah and Mohammad Haneef Atmar, former National Security Advisor, are seen as close competitors of Ghani in the upcoming polls – which were delayed for two times.
The materials transferring process begins at a time that the IEC leadership has not appointed a deputy head of the IEC secretariat and heads of the election commission offices in 14 provinces.
Nang said the process will be finalized in the near future.
Critics suggest a merit-based appointment in key positions of the IEC as according to them, it is a national process and has high importance to the nation.
“Some people are hired based on nepotism and ethnic affiliation and I wish there is merit-based appointment,” said Habib Shinwari, an analyst.
“Some of the commissioners who have oversight role are sabotaging the (appointment) process and meddling in the process and give their own orders,” said Yusuf Rasheed, CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.