Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Non-negotiability of Election Red Line

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Non-negotiability of Election Red Line

According to the latest news spread from the election commission, the presidential election is delayed from the previous time which was set by the commission. It is said that the exact timetable for the election and the length of delay will be announced soon, but this delay is undoubtedly acceptable due to the lack of readiness of election commission and lack of required capacity to hold a sound election. There is also another possibility talked out in media or amongst the political circles that elections may be delayed due to the peace plan pursued by the United States Special Representative with Taliban. What is currently being discussed in the Afghan government and the Commission is also compelled to take into consideration is that the election is not delayed due to the wishes of others, even if they are United State; it needs to be delayed owing to the lack of preparation, necessary reforms and prevention from a probable crisis may happen due to a non-transparent election.
The people of Afghanistan will never want to repeat such a ridiculous experience as did in the last election. From the government officials up to a shopkeeper and a driver, all were dissatisfied with quality election held by this commission. Millions of fake Tazkera (ID card) were revealed, sticker books were looted and hundreds and thousands of frauds with clear evidences were reported to election complain commission; as a result, repeated demonstration launched throughout the country. Now, it is obvious if this election commission with the same structure and same mechanism wish to hold another election which more important will not be acceptable for anyone in this country.  People will ask what changes have added to capacity of the commission to be trusted for the next election. Why did they fail to announce the result of election after nearly two months?
The fact is that the Election Commission needs to serious reforms and upgrade to its existing capabilities. The parliamentary elections and the scandals that took place in that election clearly showed that there is no capacity in this commission to hold a more important election in the country. Currently, both the government and the electoral commission are faced with a kind of stalemate as what to do with the parliamentary elections in the Kabul area. From one hand there is strong reason for cancellation of the election in Kabul constituency, and on the other hand, it is too costly for the   government to hold another election; that’s why it is very difficult to decide now.
Similarly, the challenges posed by parliamentary elections indicate that the lack of capacity in the electoral commissions is possible only through deep and serious reforms. The reforms that incurred after the 2014 presidential election were under pressure from the two teams of national unity government. Now, it is necessary to re-examine both commissions in fields of election law, mechanism and human resources. It is obvious that reforms and promotion of electoral commissions’ capacity will not be possible in a short period of time, until March 2018. A sufficient time to bring necessary reforms to the electoral commissions requires a delay in the election commencement. Therefore, the decision of the Electoral Commission on the three-month delay in elections is, to some extent, justifiable. However, it should be noted that this justification is only due to the existing urgency and inevitability; otherwise,   a very short time delay is on contrary to the laws and interests of Afghan people.
Sometimes it is said in political circles or media discourse that the presidential election may delay due to the peace process with the Taliban and its participation in the political processe of the country is only a void and, of course, on contrary to the interests of the Afghan people. Propagation of such rumors and impressions has been made by those who for years have benefited from lawlessness and the lack of an efficient and lawful system. They try to trouble water in order to fish in; it is obvious that many will benefit from return of Taliban and probable chaos after Talibanization of the country.  Such people exist both in the ranks of the Taliban and within the Afghan system. But it is clear that any delay due to the involvement of the Taliban in the political processes of the country or under the pretext of waiting for the outcome of the peace process is a major blow to the achievements that have been made over the past 17 years.
The elections and democratic processes in Afghanistan, albeit weak and defective, are of the most important achievements of the Afghan people in modern era; these have been achieved with cost of shedding blood of  thousand of youths, and so there is no alternative for them. If we want to make a list for new values and achievements of the people of Afghanistan, as a result of the years of fighting and sacrifice, undoubtedly, the election will be at the forefront of these values and achievements. In fact, election is the only way forward for a better future and the only rule of power interaction for today’s and future of the country; Therefore, the elections can be considered as a red line for the dreams and achievements of the Afghan people and new values that are never tradable and should not be the subject of any political deal.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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