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Karzia’s Assurances

No Rush to Sign BSA, Polls on Schedule Karzai

In a gathering of Afghan youths in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai said that the election will be held on time, emphasizing that the process is the only way to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. The remarks came after the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and political parties expressed concerns about efforts by certain circles for postponement of the elections. Recently, a gathering of tribal elders and a number of parliamentarians and politicians in Kabul asked for postponement of the elections until 2018, arguing that the security situation do not allow to hold a fair and credible presidential elections. Karzia’s statements were the right answer at the right time to the growing anxiety regarding the process. However, they are not sufficient and the president needs to do more to assure the nation that the election will be held on time and there would no interference by Karzia’s inner circle or other parties. This is because that there are still widespread concerns that the government and the president may interfere in the forthcoming elections. The assumptions for this are the latest dismissals in the ministry of Interior. Recently, the newly appointed Minister of Interior Omar Daudzai dismissed a number of top officials of the ministry. Many political parties are objecting the move as politically planned to pave the way for complete monopoly the crucial internal security ministry, which will oversee the elections, by the government-backed team. The officials at the ministry have refrained to comment on the dismissals only saying that it is a part of efforts of the new leadership of the ministry to bring reforms in the institution. But, it is absolutely hard for the officials to justify the large-scale dismissals in one of the most important security institutions as the country is preparing for the next year presidential elections. As has done in the past, the President should address the concerns regarding the dismissals as well, and assure the nation that there would be no interventions by the government or any other parties in the election process. The latest developments that formed the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) and candidate registration process formally began on Monday, were major steps forward in the process of elections. However, the formation of the ECC met with criticisms from political parties and civil organizations. Some members of the new election complaints body are affiliated with government officials. It was expected that the Selection Committee would choose independent and well-qualified nominees to be picked for ECC membership. But seemingly, the Selection Commission has failed to the crucial job thoroughly and does its part in forming a true impartial election complaints body. As the ECC will have the task to consider electoral irregularities and complaints beginning its main part of the task on the day after the election, its role in the election process would be crucial as it is the body responsible for overseeing soundness and fairness of the election process. With the complaints body formed, it is now expected that the new members commit themselves to the job and assure the nation that the election complaints processing will be in the safe hands.

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