National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel)

BANTAY NG BAYAN

NDI preliminary statement on the election

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PRELIMINARY STATEMENT OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO AFGHANISTAN’S 2010 LEGISLATIVE (WOLESI JIRGA) ELECTIONS
Kabul, September 20, 2010

This preliminary statement is offered by the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) election observation mission, which began on August 1, 2010, and consists of 164 Afghan and international observers representing 13 countries. The security situation prevented observers from reaching portions of the country. Nevertheless, NDI operated in 30 of the country’s 34 provinces and visited over 700 polling stations on election day. NDI has been present in Afghanistan since 2002 and has worked in support of democratic elections since the fall of the Taliban. This mission was funded by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Prior to election day, NDI’s observers across Afghanistan conducted interviews and consultations with candidates, government officials, the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), the Media Commission, political party officials, women’s groups, human rights organizations, Afghan and international journalists, as well as members of the diplomatic community. In the lead up to polling day, NDI issued periodic updates covering the unfolding pre-election period. In addition, the mission benefited from its relationships with domestic election monitoring organizations, which deployed thousands of observers on election day.

This mission’s purposes are to demonstrate the international community’s continuing support for advancing the democratic process in Afghanistan and to provide an impartial assessment of the September 18 polls. NDI conducted its activities in accordance with the laws of Afghanistan and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, of which NDI is a founding endorser.

While election preparations were improved over last year’s presidential and provincial council polls, it is too early to fully evaluate the quality of Afghanistan’s current elections process. The tabulation of votes has yet to begin, official results have not yet been announced, and election complaints must still be processed and resolved by election authorities. Election-related problems may be revealed during the coming weeks, including serious abuses that may have occurred in insecure and inaccessible areas of the country. NDI observers witnessed a number of serious incidents of election-related violence, including attacks on polling stations and voters, but it is too soon to know what the impact of these events will be on the broader electoral process.

These elections pose especially difficult challenges for characterizing the process and detecting fraud. Because the margins between the contesting candidates will likely be slim, a small number of votes could affect the outcome of the elections for some candidates. Therefore, it will be critical for observers to closely follow the tabulation and complaints process throughout the post-election period. Only after the electoral institutions have completed these activities can a comprehensive evaluation of the electoral process be accomplished. Consequently, NDI is not offering a final assessment at this time and will continue to scrutinize the electoral process in the days and weeks ahead. The Institute may release further statements in the post-election period and will issue a final report after the electoral process is completed. NDI recognizes that it is the Afghan people who will ultimately judge the credibility of these elections.

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Written by namfrel

September 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

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