SITREP: Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections 2018

IndraStra Global

SITREP: Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections 2018

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani casting his vote at a polling station in Kabul on October 19, 2018, / Source: Twitter

 Image Attribute: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani casting his vote at a polling center in Kabul  / Source: Twitter

According to the latest announcement by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC), more than 4 million people (out of 8.8 million registered voters) cast their ballots in Afghanistan's parliamentary election amid spates of violence and logistical issues (due to technical and organizational problems). 

More than 2,500 candidates, including many women, are vying for 250 seats in the legislative elections, which are being held more than three years late. These elections had originally been scheduled for October  15, 2016, but were initially postponed to July 7, 2018, and then again to October 20, 2018

The Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA) said around 70,000 security personnel were providing security for the elections. Security was highly visible in Kabul, with vehicles being searched and some roads closed to traffic.

Image Attribute: An Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) official (L) scans a voter's finger / Source: Reuters

Image Attribute: An Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) official (L) scans a voter's finger / Source: Reuters

The local media reported the killing of more than 60 people in election-related violence across the country in two days. Kandahar is likely to go to the polls on October 27 after a Taliban-claimed attack took the life of their powerful police chief, General Abdul Raziq Achakzai, two days before the election. Ghazni has also seen their polls delayed due to security and logistical issues. No timeframe has been announced for the rescheduling of the ballot in Ghazni.

The IEC has already come in for damning criticism by the Electoral Complaints Commission (EEC) for the "serious problems in the management of the elections" which the EEC said could call into question the "transparency and fairness of the elections." In this, the discrepancy in the numbers for polling centers open on October 20 given by the IEC to the public is 4,530 and in it's off-the-record, the shared spreadsheet shows 3,187 - the numbers are self-contradictory in nature.

Also, this is the first time when biometric devices are introduced at the polling centers. However, The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) said its team of observers found almost a third of polling centers in Kabul were not in a position to use the biometric equipment. The new technology, aimed at preventing election fraud, was rushed in at the last minute.

Preliminary results are expected to be announced on November 10, while final results are due by December 20.

With reporting by Afghanistan Analysts Network, BBC, Reuters, and Tolo News