Survey Indicates 80 Pc Afghans Willing to Cast Ballots in 2014 Presidential Race

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Friday September 20, 2013
Kabul (BNA): A survey carried out in five provinces of Afghanistan by the firm Assess, Transform and Research Consulting (ATR) reveals that almost 79% of the respondents intended to cast their votes in 2014 presidential elections when asked what conditions lead them to change their mind, majority of those interviewed declared insecurity as the main issue before the April 5th presidential and provincial councils elections.
The (ATR) conducted the survey in the provinces of Khost, Baghlan, Kandahar, Faryab and Kabul.
The respondents in the 1927 person sample were randomly selected in public places in both urban and rural areas.
Independent Election Commission (IEC) of 18 million out of the estimated total Afghan population of 30 million.
However, a significant amount of the young Afghan population is not eligible to participate in the elections due to being under the age of 18.
Of those who participated in the survey, 65 percent said they were registered to vote.
The survey also shows that insecurity remained as one of the major concerns for the voters which the insurgents and the illegal Armed Groups (IAGs) pose on the elections while already there are some reports that a number of registration centers were unable to open due to security threats and The Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) recently acknowledged that a little less than half of all planned polling booths remain under certain security risk.
When the respondents were asked whether or not they thought elections should be cancelled if they could not take place in several districts of a province due to insecurity, 61 percent said (NO), 18 percent said (YES) and 8 percent said maybe.
In contrast, however, when asked if the elections should be cancelled if they could not be held in “Most insecure areas of the country,” 51 percent of respondents said yes and only 17 percent said no, with 22 percent answering maybe.
The survey indicated that an overwhelming number of respondents though that upcoming elections were the best way for a new leader in Afghanistan to get on the political power, 78 percent showed their agreement on that while only 6 percent favored a religious leader take the political power and said that an (Islamic Emirate) should formed while another 8 percent said that the Loya Jirga should select the next leader.
ATR’s survey also looked to discover what people thought about the administration of preparations for next spring’s elections.
Over 33 percent said that they thought the elections would be better organized than before, while 32 percent disagreed.
An additional 24 percent reported thinking the elections would “perhaps” be better organized than before.
Just under a majority of respondents, 44 percent said that have complete trust on the IEC in counting votes rightfully, 26 percent said they don’t have trust, 21 percent said maybe.
The survey conducted by ART offered some significant revelations about the public and what they think about the upcoming elections.
Next spring’s elections are scheduled to take place on April 5, and while a starling number of people announced their intention to participate in the elections in the survey, the IEC and others remain keen on getting more Afghans to register to vote.
With security issues clearly a major issue that could keep people away from the poll next April, however, getting more people voting cards does not seem the silver bullet to participation.
Security officials and the IEC will have their work cut out for them to assure that polling centers are not only effectively secured, but that eligible voters perceive them as so and fell safe turning out to cast their ballots.

Last modified on Saturday, 21 September 2013 03:27
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