President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani on Saturday officially launched the voter registration process and signed up to vote in the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections.
Speaking at the ceremony held for launch of the process, Ghani said that government is committed to holding elections on time.
“National Unity Government (NUG) has the will and commitment to hold transparent elections on 20 October this year,” said Ghani.
Ghani meanwhile called on all Afghans eligible to vote to register.
The president also said that no interference in the work of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) by any individuals, groups or parties will be allowed.
The president said the election commission must make sure that elections are transparent.
“We expect that IEC officials should hold an impartial and transparent election without considering their provincial, ethnic and religious interests,” Ghani further added.
Meanwhile, he reiterated the peace offer made in February to the Taliban, saying they must end the war and register as a political party.
Ghani also said the Taliban should prepare themselves to take part in the elections, stressing that elections was a means to end disagreements.
In addition, the CEO Abdullah Abdullah also registered for elections.
Abdullah said that voter registration was one of the National Unity Government’s commitments regarding electoral reforms.
Abdullah emphasized that voter registration is a prerequisite for the public in order for them to participate in parliamentary, presidential, provincial and district council elections.
He stressed no one will be able to vote if they have not registered.
Abdullah called on the people to register, saying the people need to make sure they register at the center where they will vote. He made clear that they will not be able to register at one center and vote at another.
Earlier this week the IEC said the voter registration process will be broken up into three phases.
In the first phase, those eligible to vote can register at IEC offices in provincial centers from April 14 to May 12.
In the second phase, which starts from May 15 and continues through to May 28, the process will be carried out in the districts.
In the third phase, which starts from May 28 to June 22, the voter registration process will be carried out in remote regions of the country.
The IEC has estimated the cost of the voter registration process will be $30 million USD and it has hired over 11,000 people for the duration of the registration process.
The IEC and the government have earmarked 7,300 polling centers across the country, however, nearly 1,000 of these centers are located in areas out of government’s control.