Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, February 23rd, 2024

The Undemocratic Political parties: Hindering the Growth of Democracy in Afghanistan

Although the concept of political party seems simple, there is no complete agreement among political scientists. Lexically, it refers to a group of people that hold common goal and interests fighting against those endangering their goals and interests. According to Marxist scientists, the political party is an advanced and educated part of a social class representing its class and fighting to secure class interests and achieve political power.  According to Max Weber, political party made up of a group of voluntary people who seek to bring their leaders to power and thereby achieve certain material and spiritual benefits. He believes that the existential philosophy of political party is seeking power and privilege for its members; this feature of political party also creates a sound competition among political parties to gain power through providing better programs and political services. This way the negative competitions are changed to positive competition and political parties play crucial roles in state-building and also the growth of democracy with producing political thoughts, acting as a watchdog, introducing candidates, bridging between government and people.
According to the law of political parties in Afghanistan, political party is defined as an organized group of people who act in accordance with the provisions of that law and the relevant statute to achieve political goals at the national and local levels. Based on article 14 of that law, no political parties should be formed on the basis of ethnicity, location, language, and religion while the current political parties have practically violated the law. The stress that all people of Afghanistan, regardless of any ethnic or religious affiliations, should see their own identity in the establishment of political parties with at least 20 offices across Afghanistan while none of these parties have 20 offices across the country. These branches are expected to bridge between the government and people receiving the public the demands. Accordingly, these branches have to protect the people from the direct blow of power which may come from the ruling government. Unfortunately, none of these laws and expectations is fulfilled by the political parties in Afghanistan.
Typologically, political parties are divided to democratic and undemocratic. The leaders of democratic parties are chosen on basis of the internal election while the leaders of undemocratic/traditional political parties are appointed on the basis of traditional criteria such as personal characteristics; personal interests, or inherited from father to son. Unfortunately, the political parties in Afghanistan are undemocratic seeming as personal property of traditional leaders passing from father to son and from son to grandson. Though the leaders of political parties criticize the government for being autocratic and monopolistic, they have also monopolized the leadership of political parties.  they Intentionally avoid holding internal elections fearing losing the leadership of the party while If the political parties are managed in accordance with modern criteria and standards, they will not only win the heart of people attracting high qualified members but also able to overcome the ongoing challenges. The current political parties are led by the old and repeated faces being engaged in unimportant and childish agendas such as ethnic, linguistic, and religious issues instead of resolving national issues.
Systemologically, there are three types of political party systems: non-party system, one-party system and biparty system and multi-party system. In a non-party system, everyone votes for their favorite candidates according to their individual discretion, and the election campaign has an individual and tasteful aspect. In one-party system, although individuals have the right to vote, they are forced to vote for the hand-picked candidates of the ruling party. In fact, the people’s vote plays an affirmative role, not an elective role. The most important feature of a one-party system is its monopolistic feature. The one-party system is the phenomenon of the twentieth century, which was invented by Lenin and Mussolini, and they considered the one-party system as a manifestation of the will of the people and considered it as legitimate refusing other groups as illegitimate and invalid. In bi-party-system and multi-party system people freely vote for programs, political ideologies, and political thoughts instead of individuals. In this system, there is a sound competition between parties which not only paves way for political stability but also prevents the concentration of power within a party. Based on this system, the elections find their true meaning and philosophy in a democratic system.
Based on the above systemology, the system of political parties is in Afghanistan falls in the first category which is non-party system. It means that the political parties play no formal and major role in the election system and gaining power. Although there are 72 political parties formally registered in the ministry of justice, they play no effective role in gaining power and resolving political problems in the country. In fact, the political parties produce no political thoughts, no political programs, no national goal, and accordingly play no effective role social and economic development of the country while the bipartysysm and multi-party system is likened to two wings of a bird or termed as the backbone of democracy.
The political party of Afghanistan is not only the backbone of democracy but also the enemy of democracy because they oppose working on basis of democratic rule and principles. Democracy stands on the election but they are the opponent to internal elections and so does allow the young and educated politicians to grow and have meaningful participation because of their personal and family interests. Therefore, as long as the political parties are not legalized, not become democratic, and not rescued from the monopoly of traditional political leaders they will continue its hindering role in state building and growth of democracy in Afghanistan