Afghanistan Begins Registration Process for 2019 Presidential Race

An Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) official (R) prepares ballot papers for voters at a polling centre for the country's legislative election in Kandahar province on October 27, 2018. - Afghans risked their lives to vote in legislative elections in southern Afghanistan on October 27, after the Taliban-claimed killing of …
JAWED TANVEER/AFP/Getty

Afghanistan reportedly kickstarted a 17-day registration process on Thursday for candidates seeking to run for the delayed presidential elections this year, rescheduled from April 20 to July 20 over security and other concerns.

Citing officials from the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), Khaama Press (KP) reported Thursday:

Abdul Latif Pedram was the first candidate to register his name for the upcoming elections.
Zabiullah Sadat, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan said the registration process of the candidates will continue for another seventeen days, until 20th of January.

The registration process of the candidates was due to kick off on 22nd of December but the election commission officials are saying that the process was delayed as the exact schedule for the elections had not been ascertained.

On Sunday, IEC Chief Gula Jan Abdul Badi Sayad confirmed that Afghanistan had delayed its presidential election until July 20 this year, citing “security, operational, and technical related issues,” KP noted.

In October 2018, the Associated Press (AP) acknowledged that Afghanistan had postponed elections in Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban, for a week in the wake of an attack on a high-profile security meeting there with a U.S. delegation that left at least two senior provincial officials, including the police chief, dead and at least 13 others wounded, including two Americans.

“April will be very difficult because of the harsh winter, transporting election materials, security, and budget issues,” Sayad told reporters on Sunday, according to the Washington Post (WaPo). “To better prepare for the vote, we have decided to hold the election in July.”

In November, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was considering pushing the Afghan government to postpone the elections amid America’s intensified peace efforts with the Taliban.

While Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected claims of a potential delay, which has now become a reality, some politicians in the South Asian country welcomed the move, TOLO News reported.

“Afghan government is completely committed to holding 2019 elections based on the law and the schedule announced by the election commission,” Haroon Chakhansuri, a spokesman for Ghani, declared in November, following the WSJ report.

“In five months this government’s term will finish and after that it is better than an interim administration should be established which should be acceptable for both sides and they should be able to pave the way for an inclusive and transparent election,” Shahzada Massoud, who is close to former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, proclaimed.

“If an interim administration or postponing the elections can help a comprehensive peace process, then it (delaying elections) will not be a problem. But people in some parts of the country should not be subjected to mass killings and displacement because of peace,” Mohammad Natiqi, the head of the political committee of the Afghan parties, added.

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