Election Universe

Electoral reforms mark Afghanistan’s bid for democracy

Electoral reforms mark Afghanistan’s bid for democracy
March 31 2014, 19:49

As Afghanistan continues its transition into democracy, sweeping electoral reforms are set to be tested in the Presidential and Provincial Council elections to be held on April 5.

For the first time in the country’s tumultuous history, voters will finally be able to select their leaders in elections conducted under a legislatively-established framework rather than a presidential fiat.

The reforms follow on the heels of groundbreaking laws passed by the Parliament of Afghanistan last year, among which was the creation of a permanent and independent elections commission and a separate body  to handle adjudication of electoral protests. Political observers are hopeful that such landmark legislation will result to the April 5 Presidential and Provincial Council being the country’s first truly free polls.

The eleven-cornered Presidential fight include Zalmai Rassoul, Dr Ashraf Ghani,  Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Gul Agha Sherzai, Abdul Rahim Wardak (withdrawn),  Mohammad Nadir Naim, Mohammad Dawood Sultanzoi, Qudbudin Hilal, Abdul Qayum Karzai (withdrawn),  Hadayatullah Amin Arsalan, and Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf.

The original pool of candidates was much larger, with a total of 27 politicians filing their candidacy. The election commission, however, narrowed down the list when it disqualified 16 candidates. Thirty-four Provincial Council seats are also at stake in the coming polls.

Incumbent President Hamid Karzai is ineligible to run in the presidential race due to term limits.

Photo courtesy of The Telegraph