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Elections: What is at stake?

Afghanistan is going to hold the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections which are being scheduled on July 7, 2018—some three years after they were meant to take place. Without doubt, the success of polls will depend on proper funding and of course better security environment. Certainly, the government can’t escape its responsibility of preparing the budget, and also to pave a peaceful ground for the Afghan masses to cast votes for their favorable candidates. We already pinned hope toward having a credible and inclusive elections. Though, it was better to had election on its due time in June 2015, but, amid worries over security and disputes over how to hold a fair electoral process, the President issued a decree extending its term until new elections could be held. But at the same time, there is doubt over willingness of the National Unity Government leaders to whether deliver as per their promises of holding free and fair parliamentary elections, or once again it would be postponed. There are some influential people who see government in suspicions to hold elections. Several political parties, including the Council for Protection and Stability blamed government of not having determination to hold elections, instead trying to sabotage electronic ID cards distribution process. According to findings of the political party, government doesn’t have intention to conduct the elections, and electoral reform is a big obstacle as well. There is no doubt that electoral reforms is already in impasse, but efforts to resolve it seems in sight, and already work done on it. The major reason behind slow and painful reform is due to high stakes among some government institutions. While struggling to prepare for the parliamentary elections on due time, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) are at some stage finding themselves under increasing fire from a growing number of political groups. Despite so many challenges, what is most important is to have elections, and related officials have to come up to the fore and make it possible to have this democratic practice of voting. Recently, President Ashraf Ghani has ordered the Population Registration Department to get ready for issuing electronic identity cards with coming days. This move has emerged hope among Afghans for having fair and transparent elections; because with electronic ID cards, the level of fraud would be reduced to highest extent till to zero. Moreover, Chief Executive at different platforms assured of holding parliamentary and district council elections on its due time. So there is will, but also can’t ignore suspicious—however sans election our country would further trigger to crisis and anarchy. Any wrong decision either from the government side or the opposition benches inside and outside the parliament could push the country towards further instability. Time is ripe for the government to go through its responsibilities as per law. Similarly, the various political pressure groups should also stay away from politicizing the process for individual interests and political scorings. At the moment, we are in dire need of national unity and solidarity to confront and defeat all types of conspiracies posed by terrorism and the hostile neighborhood.


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