Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

A Glance at Electoral Atmosphere in Afghanistan

In the first days of the election campaign, the atmosphere of election campaign was mostly cold and unassuming. Many of the presidential candidates showed little interest in election campaigns except one or two teams, others either was unhopeful to win the election or was unsure in holding election due to the ongoing Doha peace talks. Therefore, they sufficed at registration they had previously made at election commission. For almost a month, there was only one team that seriously campaigned but others remained inactive. in recent days, the election atmosphere has largely become competitive due to the changes occurred in one of the electoral teams, and so some of the political figures joined other prominent teams.
Now, it is felt that the election campaign has divided into two main bipolar which may attract other teams towards themselves. The two strongest teams are likely to stay against each and other until the end. Regardless of how convincing they are in the election arena, both teams have enough political incentives to hold and continue the election process. No other teams are hopeful to win the election while some of them even do not believe in holding election. Therefore, other teams are more likely to join the two prominent teams before the Election Day.
The reason why the election atmosphere became more serious and competitive, is the recent coalitions and convergence reactively created against the high-flying team lead by the current president.  However, the mentioned team has indirectly played a positive role in drawing or unifying its opponent in the field of election competition, and so they may consider the electoral competition as a product of its several months of hard work. Anyway, what seems new and important is the polarization of society and political actors into two prominent teams while in previous elections there was a sort of uni-polar election in Afghanistan. If the polarizations are built on the basis of programs and meritocracy it would open a new chapter of the politics in Afghanistan, but if it is built on the basis of ethnicity interests it will not have a pleasant outcome in the future.
Unfortunately, the past experience shows that political Polarization or political coalitions are most often created on the basis of personal, family and ethnicity interests or created as a reaction against the ruling government.  Thus, most of the political parties are established on the basis of ethnicity interests or established as a movement against the ruling team. If we look at the political history of Afghanistan, we can find many examples that personal or family interests are preferred over the public interests. Thus, in recent years, it has seen that sometimes the political parties or political figures are changed their position according to their personal interests; those who embrace each other today were serious enemy yesterday. Therefore, there is no guarantee that tomorrow they may not stand against each other for minor issues. However, this is the characteristics of politics, but it is worse in Afghanistan than elsewhere.
The other issue is poor political culture in Afghanistan; unfortunately, the political is culture is very traditional and ethnical in Afghanistan. In last parliamentary election, many of the masters and PHD holders could not win the election while the tribal leaders and businesspersons who distributed food or money among people won the election. The poor political culture is one of the reasons that encourage people vote on the basis of race, language, religion and also money. On the other hand, the experience of past elections shows that candidates will use from every option, including money, power, raising differences and buying people’s vote.
Therefore, a large number of people have never gone to the ballot box with well-consideration of sensible views, but with the attitudes and interests of their personal, ethnic, linguistic, and regional tendencies. In last elections, there were few cases that young people voted for good-looking faces without paying importance to the consequences of their action. These kinds of example might be more in rural areas of the country. As a result, a large part of the social problems comes from selection of weak leaders who inflicted irreversible harm to our nation.
Now, what matters to us is that these coalitions and convergence must not drive society towards ethnicity competition.  Those who sit around a single table and discus about big issues must not build their policy on the basis of their own personal or tribal interests. We all know that ethnicity in Afghanistan acts as a fire under the ashes. As soon as an accident occurs somewhere, we give it an ethnic color and use it as tool for reaching personal and family interests. Unfortunately, most people neither are aware of importance of election and nor know the criteria for making a right decision at ballot box. This is the responsibly of impartial thinkers, writers and media to encourage people vote for meritocracy and programs. The candidates must be able to present a coherent and applicable program for solving problems of the country.
In order to achieve the aforementioned goal, the candidates should be able to analyses the root cause of problems. It means, unless a doctor does not diagnose the main disease properly, any issuance of prescription would not be effective and may even aggravate the illness. Therefore, the tasks of the candidates are rooted in proficient identification of the problems. The programs that are provided without scientific support and non-professional work are ineffective and will not cure the pain of people. In addition, No one should be allowed to use from unsound campaign methods which end up to divisions in our society.