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Presidential polls: Lack of funds worried runners

AT News Report

KABUL: The budget for upcoming presidential election hasn’t been officially put at the Independent Election Commission’s (IEC) disposal with nearly two months left for the vote, an official said Sunday.  

However, the election body notified about the preparations for the polls – which are scheduled for September 28 – saying it will announce the voters’ list in the next two days.

Zabihullah Sadat, deputy spokesman for IEC, said: “The international community has pledged to provide the commission with the allocated funds for polls. Even though the funds haven’t been formally provided but there is no problem. We will receive them soon after the technical process ends.”

The ongoing peace talks parallel to the holding of election have aroused apprehensions regarding the successful conduct of presidential election among some of the presidential candidates.

Fazal Ghani Haqmal, a member of the Hizb-e-Islami (HIA) Party media wing, said that until they remained uncertain about the transparency of this process, supporting it seemed a premature move.

“Candidates and parties are concerned about the transparency of the election, and until such concerns are not resolved and guarantees not provided, it will be premature to back this process, because it lacks transparency.  One reason is that the election is being conducted by a unilateral commission. Only in case of free and transparent polls, we are ready to cooperate and monitor the democratic practice.”

However, Shahabuddin Hakimi, an independent presidential candidate, on behalf of the Presidential Candidates’ Council, said that the bad security situation, the lack of funding from the international community and the government, and the existence of doubts regarding the will of the commission to hold the presidential election have caused concerns among presidential contenders.

“No one has so far introduced their observers and monitors, and nobody wants to. No one is ready to introduce their observer because under the current circumstances, nobody can dare to go to the ballot boxes due to insecurity, and besides everyone is concerned about potential widespread fraud in the polls, ,” he said. “

Election watchdogs are doubtful about the international community’s commitment to the election process, saying that the pale interest of the international community in the Afghan presidential election has led to more hardships.

This comes as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has demanded $146 million from the Afghan government and international community for holding the presidential poll.

On Wednesday, IEC head Hawa Alam Nuristani called on the government and international community to provide the required budget for the upcoming presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the Meshrano Jirga or Senate on Sunday announced delaying its summer recess in order to approve the half year’s budget, including the budget for presidential election.

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