ETWA views on Right to Participate in Elections, Electoral Constituencies and Candidates’ Registration
Right to Participate in Elections:
One of the basic Principles of Election Process is to be public and inclusive, eligible voters must participate in Election Process in order to legitimize the process in the country. However, according to observation of the Election and Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistan (ETWA) and official figures of Afghan security organs and the Election commission, (38) provincial districts of the country are completely out of Afghan Government, and the voter registration process in these districts has not been carried out. Still, with the closure of more than 700 polling centers in some provinces of the country provinces no voter registration has been done due to high security threats, and people in the cited areas have been denied from Electoral registration and participation.Meanwhile, article (33) of Afghan constitution explicitly gives the right to vote to eligible Afghan citizens. Similarly, according to Article (5) of Electoral Law: “The eligible voter, including man and woman, has the right to register as a voter or candidate, and to take part in Election.” Whenever a aquilified citizen deprived from the right to elect or being eleced, has the right to sue to the relevant competent authority. ”
According to this above stated Electoral Law article, in addition to other citizens of the country, Afghan refugees, political agents in Embassies, military personnel and eligible prisoners have the right to participate in Elections within separate mechanisms.Unfortunately, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has not announced any plans in this regard yet, while the voter registration program ends on June 12th. Therefore, ETWA proposes the following suggestions in order to maintain the right of all eligible citizens of the country to participate in Election and the principle of inclusiveness in Election process is observed:
- The Independent Election Commission (IEC) with establishing a mechanism and precise planning provide the Afghan political agents in Embassies abroad, military personnel, prisoners and eligible immigrants, with the right to participate in forthcoming Elections, which is a national process. We also want (IEC) to extend the voter registration time throughout the country, the current allocated time, till 12th June, for voter registration is not quite enough.
- (ETWA) calls on security institutions to maintain participation of voters by providing security of insecure provincial districts and areas of the country. If the security organs and (IEC) can not pave the ground of Electoral participation for voters of insecure areas in the time frame until June 12, then the second proposal of (ETWA) is that, the security mini tries with having a sufficient time, up to 20 October, which is polling day, should secure the cited districts, and the voters of these areas, on the same day of Election-Day can first register, then cast their votes.
- Meanwhile, (ETWA) urges political parties/movements, ethnic elders, and religious scholars that, with encouraging the general public to participate in the voter registration process, help/collaborate the Election commission accordingly.
- In order to ensure more transparency in the preparation of “Voter List” and to address the concerns of people about fraudulent numbers and repetitive individuals on this list, we propose that, the Commission should develop a voter registration “Database” as soon as possible, since then, in a one-day session, being attended by representatives of political parties, tribal elders, civic societies and media outlets share and publicize the working circumstances of the “Database”. Download The Report (PDF File)