Afghanistan’s political parties and analysts have been urging for a fraud-free presidential election in 2014 and outside Afghanistan too ideas and views are not much different. The next presidential election is being seen as very decisive for the future of Afghanistan. All eyes are on the next year’s presidential election due to be held in April.
The US defense secretary has said that Washington and its partners have made it crystal clear to Kabul that a free, open and fair election was an essential part of any future commitment.
"So I don't think anyone will take their eye off the election in Afghanistan. The election in Afghanistan is a critical component to the future of that country," Chuck Hagel told reporters in Brussels at the end of NATO/ISAF defense ministers' meeting.
There is no doubt that the next presidential election, its fairness and transparency and the candidate that will be successful will all be crucial for future political, social and economic stability of Afghanistan. Key to Afghanistan's future stability will be a credible and inclusive presidential election in 2014, followed by a constitutional transfer of power. However, deep-rooted corruption, insecurity and limited rule of law can be counted as major constraints towards a free, fair and transparent election. These constraints are not impossible to be prevented, if proper measures are taken today.
The coming presidential election will be different from the previous two elections. There will be no Hamid Karzai running for the seat although he is planning to nominate one from his own relatives. Meanwhile, most of the security responsibilities of election will be in the hand of ANSF and NATO forces will be only about couple of months away from being withdrawn from Afghanistan.
The next administration in Afghanistan will be responsive to the people of Afghanistan and demand of the international community if and only if fraud, ballot stuffing and other forms of election related dishonesty can be prevented. A desirable government would be a corruption-free and reform-oriented government that can defend, reconstruct and develop Afghanistan, expand rule of law, provide justice, counter narcotics, protect human rights and can find a better way to resolve the ongoing conflict in the country.
The US and its partners have great involvement in Afghanistan. They must ensure a fraud-free election in 2014. The first step to direct Afghanistan towards peace and prosperity is to install a well-functioning government in Kabul through a free, fair and transparent election.