Electoral stakeholders forum in Herat
Herat Electoral Stakeholders Forum took place on Tuesday August 1, 2018 at Esteghlal Conference Hall. The program begun by FEFA provincial coordinators. They introduced the Electoral Forum and gave insights of the program to the stakeholders. The program participants were IEC provincial chief, ECC Provincial chief, UNAMA representative, Herat Provincial Council representative, representative of Herat Police Office, ACRA Afghanistan Civil Registry Authority representative, Civil Society activists, Professors of Heart University, Women and youth activists, Parliamentary Election Nominees and representatives of political parties. The program participants discussed on couple of electoral matters as in: Election process in Herat, voter registration, candidates nomination, women’s contribution in parliamentary and district council election process, concerns on distribution of National ID card, sticker installation and furthermore, the participants criticized the lack of coordination and collaboration of Herat local government with IEC and ECC office. FEFA provincial coordinators begun the program officially. They introduced FEFA and give a full picture of Election Program at FEFA. In addition to that, they give insights of Electoral Forum to the participants. Dr. Mahdi Hadid the representative of provincial council criticized the IEC and called it no more independent. The election is supposedly transparent and pervades the falsehood behind it. He said the electoral process has been designed and has no independence. Elections are set in their arrangement and the elections are not independent. He mentioned the below points: • Lending to the commission and the government is a major challenge. • The government prevails over the people with a legal appearance. • ID card copies in the districts is a big issue and it is not definitely satisfactory. There was no form for Tazkara, and there was fraud in the distribution of the Tazkara. The deputy governor of Herat Ms. Momina Hassanzada declared that the local administration has been in line with the Independent Election Commission (IEC). The women’s nomination in parliamentary election is almost satisfactory in Herat but there is a big concern of women’s nomination in district council election.
FEFA (Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan)
• IEC • ECC • UNAMA • Herat Provincial Council Representative • Representative of Herat Police Office • Afghanistan Civil Registry Authority representative • Civil Society activists • Professors of Heart University • Women and youth activists • Parliamentary Election Nominees • Representatives of Political Parties
The program Participants discussed on couple of electoral matters as in: Election process in Herat, voter registration, candidates nomination, women’s contribution in parliamentary and district council election process, concerns on distribution of national ID card, sticker installation and furthermore, the participants criticized the lack of coordination and collaboration of Herat local government with IEC and ECC office.
FEFA organized a meeting with electoral stakeholders on Tuesday August 1, 2018 at Herat city, where representative of provincial council criticized the IEC and said that the electoral process has been designed and has no independence. Although, deputy governor of Herat declared that the local administration has been in line with the Independent Election Commission but there is a big concern of women’s nomination in district council election as female candidates have been less and in ten districts, there’s no female candidate at all. She also mentioned that people are not interested in election process due to disbelieving on fair election and dissatisfied with the candidates. According to a transparent election, IEC provincial chief said that every individual can help the process and the electoral stakeholders can monitor the process to bring transparency. In addition, there is now a voter list which goes to zero and no one can vote for the second time while there wasn’t a voter list in the past. Subsequently, the ECC provincial chief declared that Within 3 months, about 64 complaints were recorded at the Complaints Commission which were about voter registration, intervention of individuals, the recruitment of government officials of the election commission and the closure of some centers in the districts. There were also about 17 complaints about parliamentary elections where 11 of them were irresponsible gunmen and six remaining complaints were handled by the Herat Electoral Complaints Commission. Finally, ACRA chief talked about the registration process all over Herat province. He mentioned to the copy of Tazkera which produced much of the challenges. He added that database system does not exist in this office and creates so basic problem.
Female candidates have been less and in ten districts, there’s no female candidate at all. In districts, the electoral sites have faced with problems due to the unsafe conditions. Sticker installation is actually a challenge itself. It causes security concerns for people. IEC should have provided finger-print mechanism to better support transparency in election process. She added that people in city are not interested in election process and there are two main reasons for that: • People do not believe in transparent and fair elections. • People are dissatisfied with the candidates. IEC provincial chief, Mr. Dawood Sedeqzad said that the election is a national process and all people have a share. Every individual can help the process and the electoral stakeholders can monitor the process to bring transparency. He mentioned the Election Commission in Herat province is the second unit and obeys the main office in Kabul. All policies and programs are designed and developed at the main office. In order to validate the electoral process, there is now a voter list. We did not have a voter list in the past, but now we have a voter list. This cheat list goes to zero and no one can vote for the second time. Before I was appointed to this mission in Herat province, 1200000 voter card was distributed and when I came to Herat the registration process was ongoing. 254000 people registered after I came. About one and a half million people are eligible to vote in Herat Province, which is false. The central statistics office has reported the population of Herat Province 1,800,000 people. Though there are 900000 students and there is not a clear amount of population in Herat. In the course of the process, when we were well-going, the copy of the Tazkera created a big problem and IEC did not have control on it. With the evaluation and review of candidates' documents, 1 out of the 321 candidates from the District Council was rejected. This one missed to install the sticker on his Tazkera. Out of the 164 people, 1 parliamentarian was rejected because of the repetition of Tazkera. • Election institutions oversaw the electoral process staffing process. Fortunately, there were a lot of hobbyists in Herat province. In some districts, Tazkera was distributed in large number without control. IEC has not registered the child Tazkira and to ensure they have been sent to the registry office. • By prolongation of the registration time, the registration graph declined. • The Office of the Election Commission (IEC) provided 462 electoral centers in Herat province. Elections must take place in 462 centers. Out of 462 centers, 80 polling centers are impossible. The Commission's provincial office has not hired employees in these 80 centers and did not provide facilities. In 382 remaining centers there were security threats that were managed by the security forces. • The main problem is bullying and influential people. These people interfere with their personal desires. • Some media and institutions are negatively weighing. These media seem to be speculating that nothing has been done. • The commission will be in trouble if there are no election observers at the time of the election. Mohammad Nasir Dawlati the ECC provincial chief, declared that the protests and complaints of the people have been less and less. The reason is the lack of confidence in the IEC and the electoral process. In the process of filing complaints, the identity of those who protest is not disclosed. Within 3 months, about 64 complaints were recorded at the Complaints Commission. These complaints were about voter registration, intervention of individuals, the recruitment of government officials of the election commission and the closure of some centers in the districts. There were about 17 complaints about parliamentary elections. 11 of them were irresponsible gunmen and ECC sent those to the main office and six remaining complaints were handled by the Herat Electoral Complaints Commission. The ECC received 27 protests in the district councils. • Electoral Complaints Commission for determining the real or unrealistic complaint, sent the inquiries to the stakeholders, but never received the answers back. • Herat province has no coordination with the Electoral Complaints Commission. • Electoral Complaints Commission has security concerns in Herat city. They haven’t displayed a single banner yet to address their office. ACRA chief, Mr. Malyar Kakar talked about the registration process all over Herat province. In accordance with the guidelines of the main office, the department of ACRA has distributed the Tazkera in accordance with the principles in ways that two people were need on case of distribution. The distribution of the Tazkera is still ongoing. ACRA shares all their concerns to the main office in Kabul. Chief of (ACRA) Afghanistan Civil Registry Authority mentioned the copy of Tazkera which produced much of the challenges. He said responsibility is with the person himself. The database system does not exist in this office and creates this basic problem. Ghulam Rasool General Director of Education in Herat Police Office said that Security forces are ready to provide security to citizens. Security officials assured security on the day the elections and added that 81 polling sites are insecure in the province and are blocked in general.
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