Delays Will Not Improve Afghan Elections

TitleDelays Will Not Improve Afghan Elections
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleUSIP Peace Brief (February 2010)
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWorden, S
Number of Pages5 pp.
PublisherUnited States Institute of Peace (USIP)
CityWashington D.C.
Accession Number1431

This Peace Brief by USIP's Scott Worden, who last year served on the Election Complaints Commission in Kabul, cautions against delaying Afghanistan's provincial elections unless major reforms are implemented to raise the balloting to international standards.Summary
- The presidential and provincial council elections held in Afghanistan in August 2009 were marred by irregularities and fraud, leading voters and candidates to question the fairness and utility of the democratic process there.
- The Afghan government announced in late January that it will delay Parliamentary elections until September 2010--several months beyond the deadline set by Afghanistan's constitution.
- The extra time is needed to make adequate logistical preparations, but little has been done so far to reform electoral institutions or policies to prevent a repeat of the problems of the 2009 elections.
- Without significant changes in the personnel and policies of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)--the constitutional body responsible for overseeing all electoral processes--the 2010 election is likely to fall below international standards and risks undermining government (and international) legitimacy at a critical period for the counterinsurgency strategy.
- In addition, signicant long-term reforms, including a wholesale revision of the voter registry, must be initiated now to ensure that the district council and other future Afghan elections are credible and acceptable.

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