Fourth Observation Report of the 2010 Observation Mission: Campaign Season September 16, 2010
The parliamentary campaigns of 2010 were both more vibrant and more threatened than those conducted in 2005. Nearly 2,500 individuals put themselves forward as contenders. Women and youth candidates ran in greater numbers than in 2005, and many campaigns reflected increased understanding of the value of reaching out to voters, campaigning on issues, and appealing to interest groups. The media was more adversarial this time around, and covered the campaigns and concurrent electoral processes with increased professionalism. These developments reflect real and positive changes since the last parliamentary elections, and the negative aspects of this year’s campaign period should not diminish their significance. Regrettably, election-related violence and intimidation cast shadows over campaign season. Insurgents directly targeted civilians involved in the electoral process and stepped up attacks in formerly secure provinces. Candidates and campaign staff were threatened, harassed, kidnapped, assaulted and killed. Insurgent groups distributed thousands of night letters in villages and cities across the country, and the Taliban issued public statements endorsing violence against civilians affiliated with the electoral process and expressing the group’s intention to carry out attacks on Election Day.
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