First Observation Report on Campaign Process of 2014 Presidential Election
The Free & Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) as the largest election observer institution in Afghanistan observed Presidential Elections’ campaign since it kicked off on 2 February 2014. FEFA’s Long Term Observers are watching the Campaign period in all 34 provinces. This exercise is aimed to gage the electoral environment if it’s conducive for a free and fair elections and it seeks to promote transparency of the electoral process. Based on its observation findings from first month of the presidential electoral campaigns, FEFA considers the process positive and for solving the existed shortcomings present the following recommendations: 1- The observation findings of FEFA show that some candidates or members of their campaign teams were seriously threatened through warning letter and even some of them were killed or injured as a result of direct attacks. The security events negatively impacted on the moral of campaigners and it can be seen in the activities of campaign teams therefore: • FEFA recommends Ministry of Interior Affairs and National Directorate of Security to adopt effective and coordinated measures to maintain the security of members of campaign teams, campaign gatherings and campaign participants to prevent occurrence security events, assassination attempts, kidnapping and threatening candidates and members of their campaign teams in remote regions and provinces. • Likewise, its recommended to the security forces specially detective authorities to try their best to prevent distribution of warning letters to the candidates, members of candidates campaign teams and participants of electoral gatherings to avoid occurrence of security events in the electoral campaigns. • Increasing security patrols in districts and highways during the electoral gatherings to neutralize the measures of insurgents and prevent occurrence of security events. • Ministry of Interior Affairs should train the body guards of the presidential and provincial council candidates and deploy special security guards for female candidates to maintain their security while commuting to remote areas. • Security institutions should establish a 24 hours contact system among the female candidates and local security institutions to review the security problems of candidates coordinately and on time.
2- The observation findings of FEFA show that within first month of the electoral campaign some candidates used government sources illegally and to prevent illegal usage of government sources it is recommended: • FEFA not only appreciates the measure of Ministry of Interior Affairs regarding dismissal of the security officials who campaigned for specific candidates but also urges it to ensures its officials impartiality since its officials impartiality strengthens the validity of process. • The government related institutions in the process (Ministry of Interior Affairs, The Directorate of Local Agencies, Municipalities, government media) should institute internal controlling mechanism and implement it to identify the violators punish them and introduce them to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission. 3- FEFA believes, observing the principle of political finance of candidates is an important issue during the electoral campaign and its observance can strengthen the process but as seen some presidential candidates ignore the accountability and political finance reporting obligation which damages the political finance affairs of candidates, henceforth its recommended: • The Independent Election Commission publishes the list of candidates who do not share their financial reports with the commission on the specific time.13 • The Independent Election Commission should create the necessary capacity in center and provinces and through implementing the rules and procedures control the financial affairs of candidates. 4- Negative campaign and fanatic statements of candidates against each other is an obvious violation which negatively impact the campaign process therefore it is recommended: • The Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission adopt the necessary measures to prevent negative campaign and fanatic statements of candidates. • The electoral commissions should oversight the campaign programs of candidates and urge them to prevent from negative campaign and fanatic statements • The candidates who campaign negatively and have fanatic statements should be prosecuted. 5- Delay in establishment of provincial offices of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission has limited people’s access to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission and also the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission could not prosecute and handle some of the electoral violation cases due to lack of capacity in the Electoral Complaints Commission for observing the financial affairs of candidates henceforth, the government and international community should help the commission to create the necessary capacity for observing the financials affairs of candidates and establish its provincial offices. 6- Observation role of international community ensures transparency of election so, the International community should increase its engagement by: • Increasing their observation mission in electoral campaign, Election Day and vote counting process to ensure international legitimacy of election. • Providing additional funding and technical assistance to national CSO observer organizations; • Supporting the recommendations of national CSO observer organizations and advocating their uptake by the IEC and other relevant organizations regarding reforms electoral process.
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