Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Elections: Ethnic Low Turn Out and Further Marginalization

Ethnic Marginalization is one of the biggest social issue in Afghanistan. According to the Governments’ policies, specific ethnics and religious groups have been systematically marginalized in the past in Afghanistan. However, all Afghans have equal rights constitutionally now. As a result, systematic marginalization policies in the past have been the cause of ethnic marginalization in Afghanistan, but in our age electoral processes may act so: One of the most visible signs of marginalization is lack of civic engagement among a specific ethnic group or region. This lack of participation can reflect the historical background a specific community as well: If the members of a specific community has been marginalized in the past they would have low trust to the electoral processes. Further, if they participate actively in the electoral process and do not experience tangible changes in their political and socio-economic status, they will consider the electoral process as ineffective. Indeed, this would keep them away from being a part of the polity and would further limit their access to the provision of government services. In addition to that, marginalization affects state benefits for business environment, education, health maintenance, and public safety. These benefits are contingent on numbers of registered voters and voter participation.
If specific ethnic groups do not register and do not vote, they would be denied national and local elections benefits. Therefore, low voter registration and consequently low voter participation would affect political and socio-economic opportunities for members of a specific ethnic group or community.
This lack of ethnic involvement can become an increasingly critical social issue in our society. In many countries, declining levels of participation, achievement and motivational characteristics in the population have become more serious issues and have remained unsolved in such countries. Policies of the government focus on security, economic and governance to provide the basic service to the citizens of Afghanistan. While it shall focus on assimilation the ethnic groups into the polity by promoting participation in civic life as various research findings suggest. Without assimilation into the polity, a specific ethnic or social group of the country may fail to receive benefits that could improve their security, economic and governance, and in brief it they may fail receiving benefits that could improve wellbeing.
Therefore, the government should analyze the ethnic population involvement in the community in order to understand its voter mobilization characteristics that undermine its level of participation in the political process, especially in the current Wolsi Jirga and District Councils elections. In analyzing the lack of political participation of ethnic groups and its effects in Afghanistan, the government should look for the motivations or lack of thereof that have led to the very low rate of voter registration that would Low voter registration in Afghanistan has many reasons including lack of public awareness campaigns by IEC, deterioration of security, low performance of the previous legislators, unequal distribution of political and economic opportunities in the country.
Each ethnic group has played a significant role in developing and defending the country. As a result, they should equally be involved in the voting of the country. If not so, they would give up their voices in the society. Thus, their basic requirements would not be articulated to political leaders of the country. And without it, their needs would not be addressed: an issue that just would further deepen the social gap and social marginalization of specific ethnic or social groups in Afghanistan that would undermine the national building other democratic processes in the country. As a result, the government shall analyzes such trends in the country and find their causes and address them in a proper manner. Doing so it will ensure improvements of the democratic processes and institutions and social cohesion in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has one of the lowest voter registration rates comparing the previous elections. It is an issue that has raised the concerns of both the government and the political leaders of Afghanistan. As voter registration and consequently voter turnout characteristics show the level of the ethnic population in the country, the low rate of them, especially among a specific ethnicity or social groups, show the level of their disappointment of the political system that could lead to their further marginalization.