IEC Warns Against Meddling In Election Process, Asks For Timely Budget

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The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) Monday warned foreigners, international institutions and certain elements within government against interfering in the Afghan election process, saying that any attempt, whether from abroad or inside the country, could further postpone the election process.

They said the election management process will likely delay the timeline of parliamentary and district council elections unless government and donors put a budget in place.

In a statement on Monday, IEC chief Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani warned foreign embassies in Kabul, international institutions and elements within government not to interfere in the process.

He asked government and donors to approve the election budget within a week so that necessary arrangements can be made to conduct the poll according to the timeline and under the management of the new IEC members.

The IEC chief meanwhile has urged President Ashraf Ghani to ensure there is no outside interference in the process.

“Prominent figures within government, foreign embassies and UNAMA are attempting to interfere in the election [process] under different pretexts, such a move could delay the election timeline,” Nuristani said.

We suggested the government approve half of the election budget by Febraury 4 so that the IEC could conduct parliamentary elections, but no response came from the government’s side on the issue yet, he said.

According to Nuristani, despite the UN having pledged the timely approval of the election budget, government feels reluctant to ask the UN for the money.

“Government must approve part of the budget to us, more delays could be the reason for postponing the elections. If half of the budget is not approved by the end of the week, we will not be able to conduct the poll,” he added.

Bringing about the necessary reforms in Afghanistan’s election law and structure of the election bodies was an important element of the political agreement signed between President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah during the formation of the National Unity Government.

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