While the National Unity Government (NUG) billed electoral reforms as its key priority after it assumed power following the long-running dispute in 2014 presidential election, the government only replaced election commissioners, and equally shared the slots in the Independent Election Commission (IEC), and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) between the two teams forming the government, an issue whose consequences have recently begun to unfold. The IEC is reportedly embroiled in bitter disagreements. This comes as the parliamentary and district council elections have been delayed, and the government is under increasing fire for what the critics term a lack of political will to conduct election.
Given the dissatisfaction of people with the performance of the National Unity Government and Wolesi Jirga, holding election on time is a must in the current situation, while some political groups, who have questions about the NUG’s legitimacy and performance, even call for an early presidential election. The continued discords and corruption in the Independent Election Commission not only make the timely holding of election impossible, but also beget the fear of yet another crisis in the future such as that after the previous presidential election.
Government leaders who were well aware of the problems in the electoral system did not try to find a foundational solution to them. Although they had enough time and a good opportunity to reform the electoral system, and therefore pave the way for a transparent election, they did not properly utilize the chance, leaving it as a challenge to future administrations. Even if the government and the international community together don’t pay attention to the problems in IEC, Afghan people, who have already nearly lost their trust in the democratic process of election, will not go to polls in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.