AT News Report
KABUL: The Independent Election Commission says each vote in the presidential elections slated for September 28, would cost 15 dollars, in addition to ordinary electoral budget and transportation. According to the commission, this expense would include ballots, electoral materials, printing expense, ink and other essentials.
This expense is imposed in a country where half of its population lives under the poverty line.
The United Nations said in its latest finding that 13.5 million Afghans face lack of food safety, and electoral watchdogs believe that the elections cost too much for a poverty-stricken country like Afghanistan.
Mirza Mohammad Haqparast, a spokesman for the election commission said Wednesday that each ballot costs 15 dollars, besides the ordinary budget and transportation expenses.
150 million dollars has been allocated for the presidential election and part of it would be paid by donor countries.
Earlier, the commission had announced the total budget would be 149 million dollars. It had said that the government would pay 90 million dollars, while another 59 million dollars would be paid by international organizations.
According to the commission, donor countries themselves would spend the money they are to donate for Afghan elections.
Kabul residents criticize the cost as shattering. “15 dollars for each ballot is too much and puts a negative impact on our national economy. Some materials like furniture, desks and chairs should be preserved to prevent buying new ones in each election,” said Shafiullah Rahimi, a Kabul resident.
Ehsanullah, another resident of the capital city asks the government to seek ways for decreasing electoral expenses and focus more on transparency.
But the election commission says that all materials including biometric system are imported from abroad, which causes high cost.