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Ghani invites Taliban to contest Oct 20 elections

14 Apr 2018 - 18:10
14 Apr 2018 - 18:10

KABUL, to participate in the democratic exercise.

Speaking at the voter’s registration process official launch ceremony, the president warned security and defense forces as well as candidates against any interference by in the electoral affairs.

The voter’s registration process began in provincial capitals on Saturday. However, some experts believe the process could not be completed ahead of the Oct. 20 parliamentary and district council elections.

At the launch, President Ghani said: “Today is a good day and we thank the Independent Election Commission (IEC) members for taking this important step for implementing the election law and the Constitution.”

The voter’s registration launch represented the unity government’s strong will to hold the elections, the president said.

Some election watchdogs and civil society activists had been previously claiming the government has no will to hold the long due elections to the lower house of parliament and district councils.

Ghani said any interference by securing and defense forces and civil authority in elections was unacceptable.

The president asked the Parliament to share their performances like the judiciary and the executive branches with the nation.

He said candidates should carefully study the election law and interferences in security and administrative affairs of the election commissions must be avoided.

Ghani also urged all people to participate in the voter’s registration and election processes and stressed on transparency in the forthcoming polls.

The president said he did not meet any IEC member individually but collectively and in the presence of international partners and the Chief Executive Officer.

He added he avoided meeting with IEC commissioners in order to respect the independency of the commission. He asked other officials they should also respect the independence of the IEC.

A special plan has been developed for registration of voters in unstable districts and its implementation would pave the ground for all Afghans to participate in elections, the president revealed.

About the peace talks, the president said: “We have offered a clear and comprehensive suggestion about peace to the Taliban and the society, those who think they have roots in this country, then the upcoming elections is a great opportunity (to prove them)” Ghani said.

 “The Afghan people are tired of the bloodshed and want violent and force policy to be replaced by an effective policy, that is the reason I voice on you to be serious about elections.”

“The Taliban can appear as a political party and participate in this process and can follow their intellectual differences through votes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah at a voter’s registration center in Kabul said the government had no plan to interfere in elections and was committed to paving the ground for a transparent and fair democratic process.

Calling voter’s registration “a phase of reform in elections”, Abdullah said the voters should register their names in one of closest centers accessible to them by considering the time and schedule of elections.

Abdullah expressed concern about security situation in the country and said the Afghan forces in cooperation with the public would try to hold the elections in a safe environment and on time.

Maazullah Dawlati, deputy IEC chief, said that registration of leaders of the government as voters represented a strong intention of the government for holding the elections.

He said the voters’ registration process would be free of any fraud and ‘imaginary’ voters.

“People are real owners of elections and they should refer to the registration centers,” he said.

mds/ma

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