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Badakhshan: Strongmen meddling in electoral affairs

27 May 2018 - 12:34
27 May 2018 - 12:34

FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials in northeastern Badakhshan province have expressed concern over interference from powerful figures in electoral affairs, particularly in the employment process.

Hamidullah Baloch, the IEC chief for Badakhshan, told Pajhwok Afghan News a number of parliament and provincial council members were meddling in the staff recruitment process and on other issues.

“Powerful figures and local influential individuals, supported by uprising groups, have been interfering in election affairs since my takeover four months ago; they mostly meddle in employment of workers,” he said.

Baloch warned problems could be encountered on election day if the powerful figures were not barred from interference.  However, the official did not name anyone.

He added 47 of the 322 polling stations were under high security threat. At least 27 polling stations were closed, he explained.

But he said: “Afghan security forces have promised security for polling stations in insecure areas. The authorities should take a decision on some polling stations, which are under high security threat and could not be opened.”

Baloch acknowledged the number of women registering as voters was limited. Long journeys to polling stations, lack of tazkira (identity cards) and security threats are reasons for women’s low registration as voters.

Arifa Navid, the Independent Human Rights Commission head for Badakhshan, called the low level of women’s registration as voters a matter of concern.

“Many women believe they voted for their favorite candidates in the previous elections, but the result was the opposite and serious fraud happened. So they have no trust in elections,” she continued.

Candidates’ registration for Wolesi Jirga and district council elections began on Saturday.

Eng. Mohammad Din, foreign relations head of IEC in Badakhshan, said 17 candidates had so far nominated themselves for Wolesi Jirga and 26 for district council seats. The process will continue until June 12.



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