KABUL - Head of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) Fazel Ahmad Manawe said on Tuesday that he is running out of time to properly register voters for the upcoming election in 2014.
Speaking to TOLOnews, Manawe stressed that insecurity; lack of exact population statistics, lack of proper national ID cards, and possibly a lack of sufficient budget were the main causes of the delay in starting of voters' registration process.
"We have made this clear in the past that we don't have too much time, we need to take our decision, we cannot conduct this huge task if we continue to lose time," Manawe said, urging the donor agencies and the Afghan government to provide the commission with necessary facilities and budget.
The scheduled time for launching the presidential election is March 2014 and any delay in this may be considered a violation of Afghanistan's constitution, he said.
Manawe said that the registration process of the voters needs at least $80 million which should be given by the donor agencies as pledged, but he is concerned that the delay in transferring these budgets will make it difficult to do a proper job.
He said that the IEC is trying to have election cards which will be considered a legal alternative to the national ID cards.
"We are trying to have standard cards issued which can be used as national ID cards too," he said.
The pressure is on for the IEC to ensure a transparent and fair election after serious allegations of fraud followed the last election, despite millions of dollars in donor funds to support the democratic process.
Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor spoke on the matter at a press conference in the province, stressing the need for a fair election.
Noor, who is himself a key member of political party Jamiat Eslami, said he may run for presidency or he will support a candidate, but stressed that the people of Afghanistan needed to have their vote heard and counted as important.
"We hope to have an election without fraud to gain the trust of the people. Otherwise democracy will change in a fake world and people will never vote," he said.
Noor said his party's participation will be greater than in previous years.
"We participated in the past, but this time we will be more powerful. You will be the witnesses of our powerful participation," he said the reporters at the briefing.
The total cost for presidential and provincial council elections is estimated to be over $149m. (TOLOnews)