The UN mission in Afghanistan and the election commission on Thursday signed a project document based on which the UN reaffirmed its technical and financial support to the upcoming presidential poll.
Speaking at ceremony on signing of the UN Electoral Support Project for 2019 Presidential election at the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto said that at least four internationally-recognized electoral experts are working with the electoral bodies on areas pertaining to the process so that the next election in the country is held in a legitimate way.
“We are also grateful to have the expert advice of four international commissioners to reach in the IEC and the ECC. The United Nations is fully committed in working towards ensuring an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process,” said Yamamoto.
Yamamoto called on the Afghan people to use their right of voting.
“There are 43 international and 134 national election support project experts from the United Nations working in the IEC and the ECC as well as advisor in all provinces and these people provide technical assistance and advice,” he said.
“The leadership of the independent election commission has done its best to ensure transparency of the election by considering the principles of fairness, transparency, and safety of the process without considering any pressure from anyone,” said IEC chief Hawa Alam Nuristani.
Critics have constantly been saying that incumbent president Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah are trying to manipulate the government resources to seek re-elections in the September polls.
“The independent electoral complaints commission assures that this aid will not go waste,” said Zuhra Bayan Shinwari, head of the Electoral Complaints Commission.
The UN Electoral Support Project (UNESP) provides direct support to Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) to conduct the next electoral cycles in Afghanistan from October 2017 to December 2019, including the long-due Parliamentary Elections (Wolesi Jirga) and District Council Elections.
The project follows previous UN projects in support of the Afghan electoral process, most notably the Enhancing Legal and Electoral Capacity for Tomorrow (ELECT) projects, from 2006-2011 (ELECT I) and 2012-2015 (ELECT II), and the UNDP Project Initiation Plan July 2015 – October 2017.