Doubts about government’s desire for election

Sunday, 11 March 2018 03:29 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 264 times

The National Unity Government’s actions concerning election escalate the fear that government leadership lacks the political will to carry out parliamentary and district council election. While the government has taken some symbolic steps, all election deadlines have been missed so far. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has termed July 7, 2018 as the last election date unfeasible.
In addition to political parties and civil society organizations, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has also expressed grave concern about any further delay in the election. Addressing a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting, Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA Tadamichi Yamamoto said Afghan government has not yet made necessary arrangements for the election, underscoring the need for a transparent election to restore faith in electoral institutions.
The National Unity Government has delayed the parliamentary and district council election under the ploy of electoral reform, while no fundamental steps have been taken to revamp electoral system, except the replacement of election officials which alone cannot contribute to transparency. The issue of transparency in election has dropped off government’s radar because its leadership doesn’t have the political will. Now, the problem is the repeated delays in election.
Not only there is no hope that the National Unity Government will hold a transparent election, but there is also an assumption that the government doesn’t have even the intention to just conduct the election. There are even reports that the presidential election may be delayed. By the same token, unconfirmed reports surfaced a while ago that there are plans to establish a “leadership council”. Based on the proposition reportedly backed by the United States, a council will be made of political and Jihadi leaders that will be mandated to back the National Unity Government till the end of its current term, and then extend it for another five-year term without any election. Though the government has rejected these reports as baseless, its actions with regard to election are dubious and worrisome, as UNAMA, which is closely watching developments in Afghanistan, especially those related to election, accuses the government of failing to make necessary preparations for election. The government’s previous electoral promises, and UNAMA’s present stance escalate the concerns about election.
Voting is the only way through which Afghans can express their will, so if they are deprived of this perk in the current critical situation, it means the whole nation is plunged into a dark past for the sake of the interests of a handful of people.

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