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2018 Afghan parliamentary election

  (Redirected from Afghan parliamentary election, 2018)

Parliamentary elections were held in Afghanistan on Saturday 20 October 2018 to elect members of the House of the People.[1][2] They had originally been scheduled for 15 October 2016,[3] but were initially postponed to 7 July 2018,[4] and then again to 20 October.[5] Much of the prelude to the elections has focused on the debate over reforming the country's electoral laws. The current system is one of single non-transferable vote.[6] Kandahar's election was held on October 27.[7][8] The new Parliament was later inaugurated on April 26, 2019.[9]

Afghan parliamentary election, 2018

← 2010 20 October 2018 2023 →

All 249 seats to the House of the People

Speaker before election

Abdul Raouf Ebrahimi
Independent

Elected Speaker

Abdul Raouf Ebrahimi
Independent

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Aftermath of the 2014 presidential electionEdit

Major role was being played by top Afghan businessman Haji Inayatulllah Khan Kochai. Most of the problems have centered around pre-existing disputes within Afghanistan's coalition government between the two main candidates from the 2014 Presidential election. The overhaul of the Afghan electoral system prior to a new parliamentary election was a key part of the post-election power-sharing deal reached between President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Whilst both agree in not holding an election before the process is overhauled, there is disagreement on how to proceed and who should oversee the process. Ghani's recommendation of Shukria Barakzai for the post was rejected by Abdullah, who saw her as being too close to Ghani. Simultaneously Abdullah has also been strongly opposed to the same officials overseeing the election as oversaw the 2014 Presidential election, due in part to the widespread belief that Ghani benefited from the 2014 elections irregularities compared to Abdullah. Tying into this is the fact that no officials from the election have been charged with any crime or removed.[10] In contrast to Abdullah's more hardline calls for total overhaul, Ghani's supporters have been more supportive of more limited reforms.[11]

Issues to be addressedEdit

One of the major issues in need of reform has been voter registration. Afghan voters are currently not limited to voting in particular areas, meaning that they can use their 2001-issued voting cards in any polling station. Simultaneously there have been 3 major registrations since 2001, resulting in a total of 20 million election cards being distributed. In contrast, Afghanistan only has an estimated 12 million voters, making the number of cards in circulation a source of potential fraud. Introducing an electronic identity system is a difficult process however, with some estimating it may take up to 10 years.[11]

The continuing failure to set a date for new elections or reform the system led to the United Nations Development Programme to cancel a multimillion-dollar project to fund Afghan electoral bodies in June 2015. The cut came at a time when Afghan aid projects were coming under increased scrutiny.[12]

On July 16, and following a 9-month delay, Ghani issued a decree establishing a 16-member commission to look into electoral reform.[13] The parliaments term expired on 22 June 2015, leading President Ghani to issue a decree extending the parliament until new elections. By August 2015 the commission had begun looking at the issue of voting reform.[14]

Electoral Reform Commission proposalsEdit

On Sunday 30 August 2015 the Electoral Reform Commission submitted their proposals, following a month of deliberation. Amongst the proposals were calls for allotting 83, or 1/3, of the Afghan parliaments 250 seats to political parties, in accordance with the parties national results. Other proposals included the restructuring of the current election commission; the creation of a clear voter identification system ahead of future polling; and moving to an electoral system that divides provinces into smaller voting districts that can be easily quarantined in case of fraud. According to the New York Times, observers felt that the proposals weighed towards the view of reform favored by Abdullah Abdullah.[15]

Disagreements over the plan saw two members of the commission; Kawun Kakar and Shah Mahmood Miakhel, who are believed to be close to Mr. Ghani, walking out. Both criticised the plan for allocating party seats on the basis of a national constituency result. Instead, both felt that smaller, more local constituencies would offer a closer link between parliamentarians and the electorate, whilst they felt the suggested system discriminated in favour of larger, national parties. Shah Sultan Akefi, the head of the commission, rejected these claims, and argued that the proposed system was important for developing national political parties, instead of maintaining the current system of non-partisan, and ideologically divergent independent candidates.[15]

ProcessEdit

Out of around 12 million eligible Afghans, there were nearly 9 million registered voters including 3 million women.[16] There were going to be more than 21,000 polling stations where voters can cast their ballots, protected by more than 54,000 members of the security services.[17]

ConductEdit

The parliamentary election was held as scheduled on 20 October.[2][1] Despite some violence and delays in the openings of some polling stations, reports showed that there were long lines and high voter turnout at available polling stations.[18][19][20] Delays in the arrival of election workers also caused some polling station to remain open longer so people would be able to cast their vote.[2] The provinces of Kandahar and Ghanzi will hold elections at a later date.[1] Immediately after the polls closed, election workers began counting the ballots.[21]

The chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan, Gulajan Bade Sayad, said more than 2 million Afghans had voted in 27 provinces by 2 p.m. local time, with at least 638,000 votes coming from Kabul.[18] IEC officials reported that up to 4 million registered Afghan voters turned out to cast their ballot.[22] The IEC further stated that approximately 3 million registered voters were confirmed to have cast their ballot and some suggested that numerous sums of the country's 9 million registered voters didn't exist and were based on forgery of identification.[23][24] The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated it was "encouraged by the high numbers of Afghans who turned out" and praised the efforts which were made to ensure the election would take place.[25][26][18] Voting was also extended to October 21, with the exemption of Kandahar and Ghanzi, and after the polls closed, Sayad announced that approximately 4 million registered Afghan voters had cast their ballot in the two days of voting.[27]

Over 170 people were killed or wounded in bombings and rocket attacks throughout the first day of voting, with at least 18 people killed and 67 injured in blasts near polling stations in the capital, Kabul.[28]

On October 27, 2018, Kandahar held its election.[7][8]

TurnoutEdit

Sayad stated that the IEC estimated voter turnout to be at an "impressive" 45 percent, with women participating at an "historic" fraction of 33 percent of the voters.[29] This does not include results from the provinces of Kandahar and Ghanzi, which will hold elections at later dates.

Higher-than-expected turnout was also reported in the Kandahar election which took place on October 27.[30][31]

ResultsEdit

The parliamentary results were to be released within 20 days of the election, and the final results by 20 December 2018.[32] However, on December 6, an election complaints agency invalidated all of the votes cast in Kabul Province over fraud allegations, effectively stalling the official release of results.[33]

As of February 2019, only one third of the 250 seats have been certified.[34]

Fraud AllegationsEdit

According to a spokesperson from the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), their decision to annul the results from the capital could be defended for 25 different reasons - including "major fraud" and the IEC's overall mismanagement of the election.[35]

More than one million votes had been counted in Kabul, accounting for one fourth of the four million votes cast nationwide.[36] Under ordinary circumstances, this move would have required a new election to take place within seven days of the IECC's decision. Rather than permit a new election however, the IEC denounced the ruling and announced its intent to certify the results of Kabul's vote in spite of the IECC's higher authority over the matter.[37]

Even before the fraud allegations were levied, IEC officials predicted that counting the votes would be a difficult and time-consuming task, as some 800 candidates had participated in the Kabul elections, and election officials scan the votes for each candidate manually. With the fraud allegations as they are, IEC officials have deigned to announce a new date by which the final results will be announced.[38]

According to the Election and Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistan, the IEC has delayed announcing the election results out of fear that the validity of the entire vote would be challenged across Afghanistan. Given the complaints of fraud the commission already received on election day, observers speculate that the IEC is delaying the vote to avoid receiving further backlash.[39]

In response to these delays and the actions of the IEC over the last few months, the IECC called for the firing of several IEC staff members.[40] On February 12, 2019, Afghanistan's coalition government fired all the commissioners responsible for directing the fraud-tainted election. Though there has been no official news of the fate of the 2018 election ballots, if the results are re-examined or canceled, it could further delay preparations for the upcoming presidential election.[41]

Meanwhile, opposition politicians are pushing to postpone the presidential election and form an interim government to stabilize the country. As part of a peace deal in the works, such a government could include the Taliban as well. President Ashraf Ghani has insisted that the 2019 presidential election, already pushed back from April to July, be held on time.[42]

Inauguration of new ParliamentEdit

Despite delays, Afghanistan's new Parliament was officially inaugurated on April 26, 2019, six months after the election was held.[43] Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani presided over the swearing-in ceremony.[9][44] The new Parliament is also Afghanistan's 17th Parliament.[45] The same day, final election results from four Afghanistan provinces whose results had been delayed revealed that House of the People speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi of Kunduz had been re-elected to the House of the People as well.[46]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "A Round Up Of Saturday's Parliamentary Elections – TOLOnews". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-10-19/voting-begins-in-afghan-parliamentary-polls-despite-threats
  3. ^ "Afghan Panel Sets Election Date, Drawing Government Criticism".
  4. ^ News, ABC. "International News: Latest Headlines, Video and Photographs from Around the World – People, Places, Crisis, Conflict, Culture, Change, Analysis and Trends". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  5. ^ "Afghanistan Sets Date for Parliamentary and District Elections After 3-Year Security Delay". 1 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Electoral Reform, or rather: Who will control Afghanistan's next election?Afghanistan Analysts Network – Afghanistan Analysts Network". www.afghanistan-analysts.org.
  7. ^ a b "Elections Underway In Kandahar". TOLOnews. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Afghans Vote In Kandahar Elections Delayed By Violence". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  9. ^ a b http://prod.tolonews.com/afghanistan/ghani-inaugurates-parliament
  10. ^ Mashal, Mujib (19 June 2015). "Afghan Parliament's Term Is Extended After Squabbles Delay Elections". New York Times. Kabul.
  11. ^ a b Loyn, David (14 February 2015). "Afghanistan's attempts to reform voting face failure". BBC News. Kabul.
  12. ^ Donati, Jessica (12 June 2015). "Frustrated donors end funding for Afghan parliamentary elections". Reuters. Kabul.
  13. ^ Rasmussen, Naomi (1 September 2015). "Strengthening Afghanistan's Ballot Box". Foreign Policy.
  14. ^ IWPR Afghanistan (7 August 2015). "Afghans Impatient for Electoral Reform". Institute for War & Peace Reporting.
  15. ^ a b Mashal, Mujib (31 August 2015). "Afghanistan's Electoral Reform Plan Is Met With Skepticism". New York Times. Kabul. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  16. ^ "Afghan electioneering in full swing as voting day for parliamentary polls gets closer – Xinhua – English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com.
  17. ^ Diplomat, Catherine Putz, The. "Parliamentary Elections Loom in Afghanistan".
  18. ^ a b c Tanzeem, Ayesha. "Millions of Afghans Vote Despite Attacks, Threats". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Afghans defy deadly poll violence". 20 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018 – via www.bbc.com.
  20. ^ "Long queues as Afghan voters defy election day attacks, delays". 20 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Counting under way in Afghan poll marred by deadly violence, chaos". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  22. ^ (TNS), Mohammad Jawad and Qiamuddin Noori dpa. "Afghans vote despite election chaos and violence". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Counting under way in Afghan poll marred by deadly violence, chaos". Channel Asia. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Counting under way in Afghan poll marred by deadly violence, chaos". Arab Mews. 20 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  25. ^ "UN encouraged by Afghans' desire to vote, urges authorities to safeguard and complete elections". 20 October 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  26. ^ "UN encouraged by Afghans' desire to vote, urges authorities to safeguard and complete elections – Afghanistan". Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  27. ^ Associated Press (October 21, 2018). "The Latest: Amid violence, Afghan elections draw to a close". ABC News. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  28. ^ "Afghanistan election: Multiple blasts reported at Kabul polling stations". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  29. ^ Shadi Khan Saif (October 21, 2018). "Voting for landmark Afghan parliament polls concludes". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  30. ^ "Afghanistan's Kandahar province votes a week late after police..." 27 October 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018 – via www.reuters.com.
  31. ^ "High turnout reported in Kandahar despite fear of attacks". Arab News. 27 October 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Polls close in Afghanistan's long-delayed parliamentary elections". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  33. ^ Mashal, Mujib; Abed, Fahim (2018-12-06). "Afghan Election Dispute Brews as U.S. Pushes for Peace Talks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  34. ^ Zucchino, David; Abed, Fahim (2019-02-12). "Afghan Government Fires Election Officials After Votes Tainted by Fraud Claims". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  35. ^ "Afghan Commission Invalidates All Kabul Votes In October Parliamentary Election". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  36. ^ Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Afghan electoral body invalidates all votes in Kabul | DW | 06.12.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  37. ^ Mashal, Mujib; Abed, Fahim (2018-12-06). "Afghan Election Dispute Brews as U.S. Pushes for Peace Talks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  38. ^ Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Why are Afghan officials not announcing election results? | DW | 29.11.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  39. ^ Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Why are Afghan officials not announcing election results? | DW | 29.11.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  40. ^ Mashal, Mujib; Abed, Fahim (2018-12-06). "Afghan Election Dispute Brews as U.S. Pushes for Peace Talks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  41. ^ Zucchino, David; Abed, Fahim (2019-02-12). "Afghan Government Fires Election Officials After Votes Tainted by Fraud Claims". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  42. ^ Zucchino, David; Abed, Fahim (2019-02-12). "Afghan Government Fires Election Officials After Votes Tainted by Fraud Claims". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  43. ^ https://www.foxnews.com/world/after-delays-afghan-president-inaugurates-new-parliament
  44. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/04/26/world/asia/ap-as-afghanistan.html
  45. ^ https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/17th-legislative-term-of-afghan-parliament-inaugurated20190426204757/
  46. ^ https://www.khaama.com/final-election-results-announced-for-wardak-kunduz-baghlan-nomads-constituency-03807/

External linksEdit