AT News Report
KABUL: The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Saturday announced that presidential political campaign would start on Sunday and last for 60 days until 48 hours before the ballot in order to operate election silence.
Deputy Spokesman for the IEC, Abdul Azizi Ibrahimi, confirmed the announcement of the IEC officials, who on Saturday afternoon in a press conference declared that from Sunday, the presidential runners were entitled to the right of initiating their campaigns and go head for competition of the election – which is slated for September 28.
He said that 18 presidential candidates would be allowed to continue their campaign trails for 60 days, adding that 48 hours prior to ballot, all the candidates must stop their campaigning in order to observe election silence period.
Ibrahimi went on to say that each candidate was permitted to spend 442 million AFNs during their campaign in 34 provinces across the country.
He said that 5,388 voting centers would be functional and nearly 2,000 polling centers would remain closed due to security threats on the Election Day.
Some 9.6 million eligible voters, including 33 percent female, would participate in the vote, he added.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry’s Spokesman Nasrat Rahimi in a joint press conference with the Defense Ministry’s Spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said that serious measures would be taken to protect presidential candidates and their running mates.
He said that armored vehicles and guards were put at the candidates’ disposal and all the police headquarters and intelligence forces were ordered to make utmost efforts for the protection of presidential hopefuls and their campaigns.
He emphasized that special preparations would be employed in areas where the candidates desired to campaign.
Rahmi asked the candidates to inform police and coordinate with them when launching campaign trails, adding that the MoI had asked police forces to keep their impartiality and not indulge in election affairs.
Police officers would face serious legal action if they took part in election issues, he warned.
Meanwhile, Rohullah Ahmadzai said that joint plans for beefing up security and securing election sites were adopted by both army and the police.
Ahmadzai said that security operations would be conducted in areas where threats were high in order to pave ground for people to go to polling sites and cast their votes.
He mentioned that MoD had also instructed all army forces not to interfere in election issues, adding that MoD would act in collaboration with IEC for transferring electoral materials.
Presidential Spokesman Sediq Sediqi said that government in cooperation with the electoral bodies was committed to conducting free and fair election across the country.