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Govt. Decisive To Hold Parliamentary Elections, Spokesperson

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Monday January 22, 2018

Kabul (BNA) However, short time has left to holding parliamentary and district councils’ elections, but some people believe that the government doesn’t have firm will in the respect. But officials of the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) are saying that the elections will be held on its due time.
An exclusive interview IEC spokesperson answered the questions as follow:
Q: People are confused on holding elections, is the IEC prepared to hold the elections?
A: IEC spokesperson Dr. Abdul Badi Sayad said, “Everyone knows that the National Unity Government (NUG) leadership is decisive to hold the elections on its due time and we are ready to hold it next year, on Saratan 16.”
As the IEC is responsible to manage all elections, it has shared an electoral zones’ draft with the government, the first round which has been successfully done in 34 provinces of the country, he further said.
The first round was including re-evaluation stage of polling stations, establishing voting centers throughout the country, except two districts, which was completed in cooperation with security forces, and we hope security of remained districts is restored so our people don’t deprive of their voting right, he added.
Q: After IEC evaluation, there are how many polling stations across the country?
A: 7355 polling stations have been confirmed throughout the country, as well as electoral complaints centers’ doors are open in all provinces, where the people can record their complaints and we would soon step up to address them.
Q: One of the controversial issues in the past elections was the voters’ list, in which the number of voters’ list was more than some areas’ population, what would you do in this regard?
A: The second stage is registration of voters that unfortunately, one of the controversial issues in the past elections was the voters’ list and we had not a transparent list—an action caused frauds in elections, he said.
Therefore, IEC had planned to hold the upcoming elections with using modern technology, but unfortunately, due to weak economy and as the international donors have not cooperated with us, we failed to do so, he said, adding but one of the options that can prevent fraudulent elections, is to vote via tazkira (ID cards) and we plan to apply this in next elections, he went on to say.
Q: What are the IEC strategies to hold fair and transparent elections?
A: One of the issues that is prioritized by IEC, is holding transparent elections and in our second stage, we would start registration of voters based on their tazkira before elections to know how many people are eligible to vote across the country, he continued.
But unfortunately, some people in remote districts of the country don’t have tazkira so far, and we have recently signed an agreement with population registration office, based on which tazkira would be distributed to eligible people so they can also vote, he added.
Q: After IEC evaluations, could you clear the primary figure of voters or not?
A: our evaluations indicate that a huge number of our people would vote in upcoming elections and we are making effort to establish a center for 200000 eligible people, he said, adding the population registration office has promised  us it would increase the number of tazkiras so nobody is deprived of voting.
Q: Besides Afghan people, the international community is also stressing on holding elections, would it financially support the IEC?
A: As our first proposal was using modern technology, but our international partners said as there was no sustainable power in Afghanistan, this is impossible, he said adding we have estimated that the upcoming elections would cost $30mln that the international community has promised us to pay the amount.
In fact, ninety percent of the elections’ expenditures would be paid by the international community and the rest by the government of Afghanistan, he added.
Calling insecurity a serious challenge before holding elections particularly in remote districts, but he assured of Afghan National Security Forces cooperation in the respect.
Q: Would the last electoral cards be used in upcoming elections or there is another option as well?
A: The last electoral cards have been invalidated and no one can use them in upcoming elections. This time, the voters should have their tazkira with them, through which they can vote to their favorite candidates, he said.
Suraya Raiszada

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