Afghan Election Delay Will Harm International Trust, Warns Akifi

Any further delay in holding country’s parliamentary and district council elections will undermine the trust of Afghanistan’s international partners, Shah Sultan Akifi, the head of Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) has warned.

He said on Wednesday that delaying the implementation of reforms in the election laws and holding the parliamentary elections, will signal the weakness and a lack of will within the government to bring about systematic reforms to the election system of Afghanistan. It will discourage the world community.

The United Nations has added its voice to these concerns, adding that the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) will face a credibility challenge if election law reforms were not undertaken and parliamentary elections not held.

In a briefing to the UN Security Council, Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan expressed major concerns over the constant delays that have hit the process for implementing election law reforms.

“Slow progress in advancing electoral reform and setting an election calendar, is one indicator of a need for greater political cohesion and the need for appreciation by a fragmented political community of their shared destiny. On the 13th June the Wolesi Jirga (lower house of parliament) voted against the draft structured law necessitating further review and discussions,” Haysom told the UN Security Council.

Referring to parliament’s rejection of president Ashraf Ghani’s legislative decree on electoral reforms, the head of the ERC said the decision has pushed the reform process into deadlock. He added that it was now it is the task of senate members to clarify the fate of the much-awaited decree.

“As long as the elections are delayed, it would pose harm to the people and government of Afghanistan. The international community will be discouraged and they will conclude that the national unity government does not have the ability to implement its programs,” ERC chief Akifi said.

“The government does not have the will to conduct the elections,” Ex-IEC chief Manavi said, adding to mounting concerns over election delays adding to further rumors that lawmakers in parliament are split over the election reforms.

The government is, however, insisting that it will bring about reforms in the elections law.

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