EU Special Representative expects better second round of Afghan elections
Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 23 / Trend E.Ostapenko /
European Union (EU) Special Representative for Afghanistan Ettore Francesco Sequi expects more successful second round of the Afghan presidential elections, which will be held in early November.
"It will be possible to learn the lessons from the first round. At any rate, I believe the second round will be better," Sequi told Trend over the telephone.
The Afghan presidential elections held on Aug. 20 were followed by massive fraud and falsification of ballots. No candidate succeeded to won 50 percent of the vote plus one vote needed to become head of the Afghan state and the relevant agencies announced new second round of the presidential elections where the winner will be revealed by a simple majority of the electorate's vote.
Under the results of the first round, Abdullah Abdullah won 30.6 percent of the vote. The initial results that were announced before the UN Commission's investigation to asses the legitimacy of elections in the country and invalidation of almost a third of all ballots, Abdullah won 27.8 percent of votes. Karzai gained support from 49.67 percent of voters, rather than 54.6, as the preliminary results announced.
The second round of presidential elections will be held on Nov. 7 and only two candidates who won majority of votes in the first round - incumbent President Hamid Karzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, will take part in the second tour.
According to Sequi, the second round of elections will be easier for voters, because they will elect one from two candidates, which will simplify the procedure. The ballots would be much simpler than in the election ballots of the first round where number of candidates was 35-38.
Certain part of constituencies' staff will be replaced and the presence of observers, both international and local will be ensured to improve the process, the EU representative said.
About 7,000 of 24,000 constituencies will be eliminated. In addition, about 200 of 2,950 local election coordinators will be replaced by new ones. Instead of the dismissed staff, thousands of new employees will be hired for polling stations.
According to Sequi, elected candidate should be man whom the Afghan people want to see the president.
"This is important not because we are talking about electing the president, which is important in itself, but also because we are talking about giving legitimacy to the president who will be called to address in the next five years all the big problems of the country," he said. "To do this he needs both - the legitimacy and the support of its people."
Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced on Thursday beginning and end of the election campaigns of the presidential candidates. The pre-election campaign of the presidential candidates will begin on Oct. 24 at 12.00 [local time] and should end on Nov. 5 at 12.00.
The European Union from the very beginning has supported the process that means also the support of the observation process, Sequi said.
"The EU will do its best in order to deploy the group of observers. It is also important to both voters and candidates to feel that there is international support in order to have a fair and credible process," Sequi added.
According to the IEC, local and foreign observers accredited in the first round of elections do not need to receive re-accreditation. Their license will be valid until the end of the second round of elections. Only representatives of presidential candidates and political parties, which have been accredited before the presidential elections can monitor the elections.
Two weeks are left for the second round of the presidential elections. Preparations for the first round of elections took several months.
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