UN envoy for Afghanistan warns against challenges to presidential poll

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-12 03:19:41|Editor: yan
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UNITED NATIONS, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The top UN envoy for Afghanistan warned on Monday against the challenges to this year's presidential election in the country.

This year's presidential election will be a critical step forward in further consolidating Afghanistan's representative political system, said Tadamichi Yamamoto. "The holding of the presidential election on schedule, however, will be very challenging."

The widespread reports of irregularities during parliamentary elections in October 2018 undermined confidence in the electoral management bodies. As a result, the country's Election Law had to be amended and the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission had to be reshuffled, he told the Security Council.

"With less than five months remaining until election day, the technical and political challenges are daunting," said Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general's special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

The amended Election Law provides for reforms, including the use of biometric technology and change in the electoral system; and for the conduct of three additional elections: provincial council elections, district council elections, and parliamentary elections for the province of Ghazni.

The commissioners will need to assess whether the current electoral calendar will permit the holding of four simultaneous elections in July, said Yamamoto.

"It will likely be a stark choice: hold the presidential election on schedule or implement all that are stipulated in the amended Election Law, knowing that this may entail a significant postponement of the presidential election."

The United Nations will continue to work with Afghan stakeholders to help them ensure that the electoral process is conducted in a credible, transparent and inclusive manner, said Yamamoto. "It is important, however, that Afghan institutions and stakeholders fully realize that the ultimate responsibility and ownership for elections rests with the people of Afghanistan."