A Momentous Day for the Election Process
On Sunday, the presidential candidates officially started a two-month campaigning amidst sentiments of hopes and concerns to the future of the country. A handful of the candidates began their campaigning with lavish parties and speeches to their followers while activities of many other candidates were not very visible on the first day of the election campaigning. The electoral campaigns began with the first ever major attack on election campaigners, highlighting the threat facing by those who are involved in the process such as election workers, candidates and their supporters. Unidentified armed men attacked on members of Abdullah Abdullah’s campaigning team in western Herat province and killed two of his election campaigners.
The incident once again highlighted the biggest threat to the election process. The militants seem determined to continue targeting the voters and the people who are involved in the election processes in the run-up to the day of election. Despite measures taken by the Interior Ministry to equip the candidates with armored vehicles and security guards, it is now clear that the militant groups will intensify their attacks on candidates and their campaigners. Given that, it is crucial that the security agencies redouble their efforts to safeguard the election process and the candidates so the biggest threat to the election could be over with no major impact on the practice.
Apart from the violent incident, the first day of the election was abounding with mixed hopes and expectations to the future. Many of the candidates started their campaigning with fancy promises and well-prepared slogans which pledged from growth of the economy to provision of security and to bringing confidence and trust to the politics of the country. With the beginning of the official campaigning phase, the capital witnessed many scenes of jubilance and joy with supporters contributing in campaigns and attending the candidates’ electoral speeches.
The first day of the campaigns suggested that less than dozen of the presidential candidates will dominate the process as they are have vast resources and networks of supporters throughout the country. During next two months it will become clearer whether which candidates will make their ways ahead in the race before the election possibly goes to a run-off. It is expected the prominent candidates would surpass in their expenses by far than what is specified by the Independent Election Commission. The campaigning phase may see some irregularities by the candidates and their backers as there are prescribed rules on election campaigning activities imposed by the IEC.
Rule of law and regulations would considerably determine the elections’ credibility and extent to which the players of politics are committed to adhere. The electoral bodies including the IEC and ECC should stick to enforcing the rules and direct the election process as specified by the election law. This would be the main challenge ahead of the electoral management bodies that are to play a crucial in leading a sound and transparent election. Preserving the prescribed sets of regulations will in turn help the elections administration to ensure that the elections will be free and transparent will all stakeholders obliging to the law.