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Editorial: Is rigged election looming?

We have democracy in Afghanistan and that to a greatest extend. One of its major parts is election and free media. Won’t be wrong to call them as pillars of democracy that fortunately both have been injected in Afghan society in a maximum level and there is no fear in regards of free expression that even sometimes key Afghan officials face criticisms. However, the achievements gained with blood of journalists and those outspoken figures who never bound down to anyone in compromise against free speech. It’s a difficult job indeed—but Afghans well-preserved it as they did in election process. The Afghan masses voted in millions in the last Presidential Election with core aim of having an elected president and succeeded. As a result, National Unity Government has formed with Ashraf Ghani as President and Abdullah Abdullah as CEO. Some voter’s finger chopped off by militants with warning to restrain from voting. Even though, Afghans went to polling stations and casted votes which is a great slap in the face of militants who are opposed elections. 2014 election, touted as the first peaceful democratic transfer of power from one elected president to another. But nothing was left to another area of chaos as Ghani and Abdullah traded accusation of fraud. Unfortunately, from that day till present there is political stalemate. Still there is huge difference between both parties regarding several key issues, including reform in Independent Election Commission, distribution of Electronic National Identity cards and numerous other issues. They are yet to resolve these issues, especially problems in IEC, which time for parliamentary and district councils have reached. But this time opaque elections is not acceptable. Amid perpetuation of pre-election tensions, prominent leaders of political parties and alliances heaped scorns on a rigged and inappropriate voter registration process, seeking a recommencement of registration with the use of biometric-based system. Leaders of major political parties stressed that transparency in upcoming election will be ensured solely by changing the current Single-Non-Transferable Vote system to Multi-Dimensional Representation. Their demand is very much rational. They have fear of ongoing rigging in election process which is not acceptable for the Afghan masses. Their role is imperative in every area, including elections. Looking to the current fraud and fake ID cards and voting stickers that have been distributed in millions across the country, would leave no leaf doubt over having a fraudulent elections. Fake paper ID cards distribution and that in millions is another headache which no one willing to participate in elections. Registration process is incomplete, which is a great tool to pave the way for those candidates who strive hard to do fraud to win. But IEC is responsible for its lack of inaccurate calculation and unprofessional implementation. Having stickers in original ID cards and later to its copy is projector of amateurish of IEC, and total indication of election in deception. The Afghan masses are willing to vote with enthusiasm to their favorite candidates, but in a fair, free and transparent process.

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