Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 19th, 2020

Delay in Elections Results: Human and Economic Consequences

Preliminary results from Afghanistan’s September 28 presidential election that was expected to be reported on October 19 – have been delayed for several months. The main reason for the delays was to further ensure the transparency of the electoral process and restore the people’s confidence in it. Delaying the announcement of the Preliminary results has made worried the people; some election candidates including CEO Abdullah and Hekmatyar are staging demonstrations in the different parts of the country. Considering the week security, many Afghan citizens fear suicide attacks or clashes between the demonstrators and security forces. Many other people fear being looted. As a result they prefer not come out of their homes if not very necessary. Businessmen and shopkeepers usually keep closed their shops and businesses. This causes the rise of the prices. Some parents do not allow their children to go to school and some university students’ cannot attend their classes.
Further delay in announcing presidential elections will further disappoint the people. Thus, they will further lose their trust to the Afghan election bodies. Therefore, we will witness more low turnout in the coming elections. In addition to this, delay in announcing presidential elections
Delay in announcing presidential elections, gives chance to the presidential candidates to weigh fraudulent opportunities and buy some of the IEC and ECC commissioners to change the results for their benefits.
Delay in Announcing the elections results undermines electoral transparency. In all societies, especially in the Afghan society with a week democratic background, delay in announcing presidential elections, makes the people and the politicians suspicious to the process. Given the previous elections and the widespread electoral fraud, those Afghan politicians who know them don’t have much votes will incite ethnic, religious and language tensions among the people. This will shape a supportive mindset among the supporters of those electoral teams who reject the results and their supporters will accept their politically motivated arguments. As a result, the will doubt about the transparency of the process and will consider the results as illegitimate decision.
Delay in announcing presidential elections undermines the power of the government in the Afghan peace talks. Taliban has not accepted to talk to the Afghan government so far. Any electoral conflict gives them the opportunity to further undermine the legitimacy of Afghan government in the talks. It is clear that the US and Taliban may soon reach an agreement and the Afghan government shall start and lead the Intra-Afghan talks. Consensus building in the Intra-Afghan talks is fundamental for a win-win peace deal. As a result, if the government and other Afghan politicians do not reach a consensus on the talks due to electoral tensions, we will not be able to stand against the Taliban as a united team, and we may lose many democratic achievements gained during past 18 years.
Delay in announcing presidential primary results have worried the Afghans. They are keen the results to be announced. Of course, ensuring electoral transparency and accountability shall be ensured; however, the process shall be accelerated. What now matters for the Afghans and the international community is the Afghan peace talks. It is vital for the Afghan government to reach a consensus on the peace process through engaging all political parties, Afghan politicians, civil society organizations and all ethnic groups. The last but not the least, women participation is a must in the peace talks.