Azerbaijan, Baku, July 3 / Trend , T.Jafarov /
Trend Persian Desk's exclusive interview with the Chief Electoral Officer of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan Daoud Ali Najafi
Trend : What steps are being taken to hold the August presidential elections in Afghanistan in a transparent manner?
Daoud Ali Najafi: Despite there are some problems in conducting elections, I, as Chief Electoral Officer of an Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, hope for transparent presidential elections. The time of the election, the candidates' campaigning period and the entire election process take place as scheduled in accordance with electoral law. According to the table, all activities have been organized by the Commission and this issue was approved by the public.
Q: At what stage is the process of census of the voters?
A: To conduct elections, firstly it needs to conduct a census of voters. Despite that before the census, there were problems of security, the census in all regions of Afghanistan was conducted successfully. Five million new voters were registered, that is people reaching 18 years of age since the previous election, returning to the country and those who changed the polling station.
Q: How is the preparation for presidential elections in Afghanistan and what role do women take in this regard?
A: 3,396 people nominated during election for provincial councils. At this time, women candidates actively participate in the election. During the election for the provincial councils, the number of women candidates is two times more than in previous elections. Some 41 candidates, including two women, nominated for presidential elections. Despite that the people and candidates are concerned by security issues, up to now, this problem has not rose. In my opinion, if the elections will be supported by the public and they actively participate in the elections, the issues related to security will not so much.
Q: Human rights activists and political activists sometimes say that women themselves have not appealed for registration and their registration cards were filled in by their husband or father. What can you say about this?
A: These claims are untrue. The census in these elections is different from the previous one. During the census, the importance of the availability of photographs and fingerprints was announced. In addition, prior to the census of voters, all provincial heads were trained of the registration process. We announced the application of penalties for those who will not meet the requirements. Human rights activists made claims in connection with some violations, and we are demanding evidence which they were unable to provide.
Q: The Western media outlets reported about sale of votes. BBC reported that the votes are sold for five cents to $50, but at the same time, it is indicated that there are no conclusive evidences on this issue. Did the Commission receive complaints from candidates in relation to such facts?
A: This information does not correspond to reality. Until now, no candidates have made complaints on this issue. The Independent Election Commission has repeatedly stated that the sale of votes is prohibited. In case of such facts, penalties are imposed under the law. Upon the law, each presidential candidate must collect 10,000 signatures, and candidates for council elections - 200. While collecting signatures, we also checked the existence of such a fact, but have found no fact of sale.
Q: Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta called upon the observers and media representatives from foreign countries to observe elections in Afghanistan. At what level will the observation be by international organizations, foreign media, as well as local media?
A: The guarantee of transparent conduct of elections depends on the observation. For this reason, we called upon all international organizations, primarily the OSCE and Asian states to officially observe the elections. Local observers were also invited. Up to now, 76 international organizations appealed to the commission. We support the desire of any state that wishes to observe the elections in Afghanistan. Representatives of organizations that have appealed to the commission are in Afghanistan. The Independent Election Commission carries out the process of granting licenses to international organizations to conduct observations during the elections.
Q: Some provinces of Afghanistan are not under the control of government. What work is carried out to ensure the participation of the population of these provinces in the elections?
A: In dangerous and unstable regions of the country, 1,607 people have been involved in enlightening the public for one month. In addition, 9,000 local guardsmen function in the most remote and unstable regions of the country to ensure safety. Yet, there are not serious problems. To this day, no one of the organizers of elections was killed or kidnapped.
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