Election campaign for parliamentary elections in Afghanistan has begun

The Taliban have expanded their reign and action this year again. Nevertheless, the Afghans should finally catch up on the overdue parliamentary election . But under what conditions?

Kabul (dpa) – In the civil war Afghanistan has begun the election campaign for more than three years overdue parliamentary election . Almost 2600 candidates, including 418 women, are fighting for the 249 seats in the Wolesi Jirga (House of the People).

68 seats are reserved for women. Due to the poor security situation, almost a third of the approximately 7,000 polling stations will remain closed on election day. The head of the UN mission in Afghanistan , Tadamichi Yamamoto, told the US Security Council last week.

The election is scheduled for October 20th. The election campaign ends three days earlier. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) called on candidates to adhere to the guidelines, to avoid ethnic divisions, and not to place posters in unwanted locations.

Observers fear that attacks by Islamists could disturb or prevent the election campaign . Since the 2001 Taliban were driven out of power with the help of US troops, elections in the country, with an estimated 30 million inhabitants, have been repeatedly overshadowed by violence and allegations of massive electoral fraud. Another charged election could trigger a new crisis.

Above all, the beginning of voter registration from mid-April was overshadowed by violence. The United Nations reported that attacks by Islamists in the first month of voter registration alone killed 86 civilians and injured 185, most of them women and children. According to the IEC, at least five candidates were killed in attacks before the election campaign began. No one was aware of these attacks.

According to the IEC, around nine million voters have registered, a number that is questioned by many. For several weeks, political parties blocked election offices in several provinces and called, inter alia, for the introduction of a biometric voter registration system to avoid electoral manipulation.

The electoral commission met this demand in part this week. It received on Thursday from a German company 4400 devices to capture biometric data. Others are to follow. However, Afghan election observers claim that the system can be used for election manipulation. It is also unclear whether all polling stations can receive the equipment on time.

Die Wahlen sollen in allen Provinzen außer Gasni stattfinden. Der IEC hatte vorgeschlagen, wegen der “ernsten Sicherheitslage sowie anderer Probleme” die Wahl in Gasni zu verschieben. Dem waren wochenlange Proteste und die Schließung des Wahlbüros in Gasni vorangegangen. Vor allem Paschtunen hatten eine Aufteilung der Provinz in kleinere Wahlkreise gefordert, um eine ausgewogene ethnische Balance der Parlamentssitze zu erreichen. Bei der Wahl 2010 waren alle elf Sitze an Hasara gegangen.

At the same time as the parliamentary elections , the first district council elections were scheduled to take place on 20 October. These are provided for in the constitution but have never been implemented. They also fall out this time. The voters learned by chance rather by the remark of the IEC vice-president Wasima Badghisi, the district council elections are since “long time” no longer on the agenda of the IEC. Earlier, the IEC had announced that far too few candidates had applied for the district elections.