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U.S. envoy hits out at ‘weak, politically-oriented’ electoral bodies

Mismanagement of presidential elections unacceptable | UN panel

KABUL: In the aftermath of the government’s temporarily postponing the April presidential elections and in the face of public trust levels at the lowest ebbs, the U.S. Ambassador to Kabul John R. Bass has hit out at Afghanistan’s election bodies for being politically-oriented and incapable of managing the electoral process.

The Independent Election Commission delayed this week the presidential polls for at least three months to allow for fixing loopholes and bringing organizational reforms, a decision that prompted a brusque opposition by the Trump administration.

Following the election delay announcement, the U.S. envoy John Bass heaped criticism at incapacity of the election commission in holding timely polls.

The election commission postponed the elections to July, although the country’s landmark presidential elections were slated to be held in April 2019.

In a tweet, Mr. Bass said: “Afghan people deserve elections bodies that are non-political, highly capable, and staffed with experts who can restore public trust in the elections process.

This comes after the UNAMA’s call for critical reforms in Afghanistan’s poll panels. “The IEC and the ECC should take necessary corrective measures and focus intensively in the coming months on completing a full package of realistic and prioritized reforms.

“These reforms should include cleaning the voters’ registry, establishing a clear division of responsibilities between the Independent Election Commission and the IEC Secretariat, ensuring a fully staffed and trained professional Secretariat, and making any needed changes to their own structures, well ahead of the July 2019 election,” the UNAMA said in a statement.

The United Nations in a statement emphasized that mismanagement of the presidential election would be unacceptable. “There were major and avoidable irregularities in the preparations and implementation of the parliamentary elections.”

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