The Independent Election Commission (IEC) unveiled the timeline for the presidential election, in which the poll is slated for April 20, 2019. The IEC says it has held consultations with political parties and all other stakeholders in developing the timetable. Election officials state that they want the presidential and provincial council elections to be held together because it reduces security and logistics costs, but they are yet to make a final decision about it.
The announcement of presidential election timeline is a step forward, especially now as the government has failed to fulfill most of its responsibilities on the one hand, and the country’s security and political situation is deteriorating on the other hand. The election will pave the way for a peaceful transition power to a new administration, thereby addressing the issue of legitimacy of the current government. If the Independent Election Commission manages to hold a successful election, and the presidential tickets accept the result, a strong government with a more free hand in implementing its decisions compared to the incumbent government can come to power.
The election commissions should have now learned lessons from the shortcomings and problems in the parliamentary election, and so must leave no stone unturned to avoid their recurrence. The election commission is now faced with numerous challenges. On the one side, it has not yet announced the results of the parliamentary election, but on the other side it is under serious criticism due to transparency questions in the election. Meanwhile, IEC does not have more time to prepare for the presidential election as per the timeline it has announced. Therefore, it has to take prompt, careful steps that not only would prevent the problems of the parliamentary election, but also of the previous presidential election from happening again. The election date also somehow makes things difficult for the commission because the election is planned for early spring when transporting logistics to some cold areas may prove challenging. However, despite all these problems, if IEC takes appropriate and timely measures, and also there is a political will to hold a transparent ballot, it is possible to manage and hold the presidential election as scheduled.
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