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UNAMA’s observation over Afghan election delay

AT-KABUL: The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) notes the announcement by Afghan electoral authorities for the presidential election to be held in July 2019 and welcomes the clarity in the electoral calendar.

The United Nations understands that the new date announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) follows consultations with a broad range of political actors, civil society organizations, and the Government of Afghanistan, all of whom have expressed the strong desire for a credible and transparent presidential election, the UNAMA said Monday in a statement.

The United Nations acknowledges the IEC’s assessment that additional time is needed in order to learn from the 2018 parliamentary elections and adequately prepare.

Moreover, the United Nations encourages the IEC to publish the detailed election calendar and provide regular public updates throughout the process. As the detailed calendar for the July 2019 election provides key information to the electorate, the candidates and the many stakeholders involved in the poll, the United Nations looks forward to its timely publication.

The United Nations maintains that the presidential election is critical to the future of Afghanistan, and its mismanagement would be unacceptable.

The United Nations urges the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) to focus on its mandated role of investigating and adjudicating complaints arising from the parliamentary elections. All actors with credible and grounded concerns about irregularities and fraud should submit complaints to the ECC in keeping with Afghanistan’s electoral laws and constitution. No one has the right to disrupt the electoral process and the country’s stability through incitement or threats.

Recognizing that there were major and avoidable irregularities in the preparations and implementation of the parliamentary elections, the United Nations urges the IEC and the ECC to 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 United Nations will maintain its coordination of the international community’s assistance to support Afghan electoral institutions in the conduct of credible, transparent, and acceptable elections, and will continue its assistance and enhance its advisory role to the IEC, as requested.

The United Nations stresses that all stakeholders have a responsibility for the credibility and legitimacy of the elections process.

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