As the timeline for Afghanistan’s scheduled parliamentary and district council elections draws near, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Sunday all necessary arrangements have been made to start the voter registration process.
The process of preparing the voters list is on track, which will enable the IEC to include data of 14 million voters on the new list, said Wasima Badghisi, operational deputy chief of the IEC.
She said the old voting cards will no longer be valid and that parliamentary and district council elections will be held on the basis of the new list.
“The voters list will be prepared on the basis of the ID cards, old voting cards will be invalidated, ACCRA is expected to roll out (paper) ID cards to millions of people,” added Badghisi.
But the IEC has confirmed that the parliamentary and district council elections could be further delayed. The date set for them last year was July 7 this year.
According to the Head of the IEC Gulajan Abdulbadi Sayyad, a number of issues have led to this – including the fact that the commission was one member short and without a leader until recently.
Sayyad said there were also other logistical issues involved that could lead to the delay in elections.
“There was no chief for the commission and also there were some logistical issues on which a lot of time was spent; our technical teams are assessing the process and there is the possibility of some delay; we will announce our decision when our assessments have been completed,” said Sayyad.
Afghanistan Civil Registration Authority (ACCRA) is expected to roll out over ten million paper ID cards to eligible voters. However, the names of 14 million Afghans will be automatically included in the voter list.
“There will be a delay of some months, because we have wasted time; it is impossible to conduct the process on time,” said IEC commissioner Sayed Hafiz Hashimi.
This also comes after President Ashraf Ghani sacked Imam Mohammad Warimach – who was head of the IEC secretariat. Shahla Haq was appointed as caretaker to the post.
The IEC has since been trying to find a suitable candidate to take over the position. However no one has so far been recommended to the president.
“Based on the law, we need to introduce three candidates to the president; the work will be done very soon so that the president can pick one candidate for the post of IEC secretariat,” said IEC spokesman Maazullah Dawlati.