Insecurity, the ongoing peace efforts and “misuse” of government facilities by a number of candidates have negatively impacted the Afghan presidential election campaign, a presidential candidate and a critic said.
Tuesday was the third day of the election campaign but so far, only three candidates have started their campaigning at public gatherings, including incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and Enayatullah Hafeez.
Eighteen candidates are running for president in this year’s election.
Back in 2014, people witnessed numerous posters and banners from candidates in cities but this time, few banners from the presidential runners are seen in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Presidential candidate Shaida Mohammad Abdali said there are certain reasons behind lack of interest among candidates to begin their campaigns.
“We should have celebrated the start of the campaign… There should have been happiness and celebrations, but unfortunately, such an environment was not created, and the responsibility goes to the government,” Abdali told TOLOnews on Tuesday.
But members of some election teams said they have already started campaigning, but they have not held a public gathering.
“Maybe one of the reasons would be that the election teams are still awaiting for peace and peace is a priority for them rather than elections,” said Humayun Jarir, member of Hizb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is running for president.
Another reason, Jarir said, is that many election campaign teams believe that they have not been given the assurance by the government and the election commission about a transparent poll on September 28.
Election observers have a similar view. They say that “influence” of government leaders on the process has affected the will of other candidates to run campaigns.
“The Presidential Candidates Council which has eleven members has announced that they will suspend their campaign until Thursday [August 1] so that the president [Ashraf Ghani] assure them about transparency and fairness in the presidential elections,” the head of Transparent Elation Foundation of Afghanistan Naeem Ayubzada said.