The Security Council today welcomed the Afghan-led preparations for next month’s presidential and provincial council elections, and stressed the importance of “free, fair, transparent, credible, secure and inclusive” polls.
In a statement read out by Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, the 15-member body also called on the Afghan people “to exercise their vote in this historic opportunity for all Afghans to make their voices heard.”
In addition, the Council stressed the importance of a secure environment for conducting elections, and condemned those who resort to violence to obstruct the electoral process.
While recognizing the ongoing efforts of the Afghan Government, it encouraged additional efforts by the authorities with the assistance of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to ensure security during the electoral period.
The presidential poll is scheduled to be held on 20 August, the date set by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission.
Last month the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan told the Council that the August election is about more than choosing the country’s leaders.
“It is about strengthening people’s confidence in the democratic process, and about strengthening Afghanistan’s institutions. It is not only about who will lead, but about the legitimacy of leadership,” said Kai Eide, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
As part of its efforts to assist in the preparations for the polls, the Mission has issued a set of guidelines for the conduct of all those who are engaged in the elections – government officials, candidates, supporters, electoral officials and media and international representatives – related to the election campaign, the election day and the immediate post-election day process.
The UN has also been involved in the training of some 35,000 police officers ahead of the elections, and helped set up a toll-free election information hotline.