Election Day 2010: First Preliminary Observation Report September 20, 2010
The experience of the 2009 elections as undermined by pervasive fraud and high-level malfeasance determined the general expectations of the 2010 parliamentary elections. Definitively proclaiming how this year’s elections went in comparison to last year’s presidential and provincial council elections will require time, careful analysis of data collected by observers, and consideration of both international standards and the many challenges of holding elections in Afghanistan. Moreover, this year’s elections are not yet over. The electoral process is just that, a process, and it does not conclude with Election Day. The post-Election Day complaints phase has only just begun and the final results are not expected for another six weeks. On Election Day 2010, FEFA observed voting and counting with nearly 7,000 observers at approximately 60 percent of polling stations nationwide in 3,538 polling centers. These observers reported to FEFA throughout the day by phone and SMS. At this point, FEFA is ready to make preliminary statements about how the September 18 vote went. At the same time, FEFA urges all stakeholders and the media to withhold “better” or “worse” judgments until the entire electoral process is complete, and to look at different aspects of the elections individually in addition to making assessments of the process as a whole. The participation of voters and the security arrangements put in place for voting were the most encouraging aspects of Election Day. Against the backdrop of a violent campaign season, millions bravely voted anyway, demonstrating again that the people of Afghanistan are strongly committed to democracy. However, regrettably, a large segment of the electorate was disenfranchised by insecurity and logistical failures. Protecting the integrity of the votes that were cast and bringing the electoral process to a just conclusion should now be the top priorities of all stakeholders.
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