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Some Interesting Aspects of Election Politics

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Afghanistan’s presidential candidates are soon going to kick off election campaigns as the nomination process is going to end on Sunday. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has asserted that it won’t extend the deadline for those who intend to register for running in the forthcoming elections. As the deadline for nomination of presidential candidates is reaching, many new nominations were registered Saturday with the Independent Election Commission (IEC). As it was expected, several election candidates rushed in the final days of the nomination period to register with the IEC. On the last day of candidate registration process, several of high-profile would-be candidates are going to register their names for the presidential contest.

The current process of nomination process for the election has been different from previous rounds of presidential elections. There have been a number of specific characteristics that differentiate this election from the previous ones. One of the main issues that proved otherwise than expected before was the pre-election coalition-making deals in order to agree on consensus candidates for the elections. In recent years, many key political figures prematurely began public campaigns that were centered on the 2014 presidential election. Such moves peaked in recent weeks with creation of election coalitions that some comprised many high and low-profile political parties and factions. But the games quickly changed as the nomination season arrived. The pre-registration process saw many of highly-touted alliances falling apart and the members aligning themselves with different and even opposition camps.

Another issue was the common concerns about electoral coalition-buildings based on ethnic lines or the so-called North-South, meaning Pashtuns and non-Pashtun camps. Initially, the evidences were suggesting that such a scenario would take place ahead of the elections. Many believed that such a scenario could have proved disastrous for the future of the country as election contests based on ethnic lines or the North and South camps could have virtually divided the country based on ethnic and linguistic interests rather than other political factors. However the disintegration of the non-Pashtun dominated Electoral Alliance marked a determining development that finally led to other coalition makings that was based on personal ambitions of politicians and political parties rather than ethnic lines. All these shifts that resulted to formation of ethnically-diverse coalitions were positive and counter crisis for the elections.

The role and position of future vice-presidents proved very important as well as competitive during the nomination process of the election candidates. Almost all of the candidates tried to portray a balanced election team that would include representatives of other ethnic groups as well. This issue also is an indicator of how much powerful an election team is and what place would have in the race for presidency. The role of vice-presidents proved that the results of the election would highly be determined by make-ups of the candidates’ teams and his choice of vice-presidents. Ironically, some presidential candidates are already considered as the losers as they do not have powerful and high-profile figures in their election tickets. The role and position of vice-presidency would always a main factor of determining the results of elections in Afghanistan. It will also play a role in intra-ethnic coalition buildings in the future, despite that this might result in personal and ethnics-calculated political dealings in the future.

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