Preparations for Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential and provincial council polls are further along than previous elections, the top United Nations official in the country today said after meeting with the independent Afghan body organizing the vote.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jan Kubiš, is “encouraged” by continued progress ahead of the 5 April 2014 polls, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement following his meeting with the Chairman of the Independent Election Commission for Afghanistan (IEC), Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani.
Afghan authorities have recently approved a legal framework, appointed election commissioners under a new consultative process, and completed initial assessments by security institutions.
“These are all key elements of a robust electoral architecture and environment for the conduct of credible polls,” UNAMA said, adding that security required increased attention given its central role in ensuring inclusivity among voters.
Mr. Kubiš also welcomed the IEC’s endorsement of the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) electoral support project, ELECT II (Enhancing Legal and Electoral Capacity for Tomorrow, second phase), noting its importance in ensuring the continuity of electoral preparations including mobilization of necessary international donor assistance.
The UN Mission, mandated by the Security Council to support the Afghan authorities and institutions in the electoral process, stressed that Afghan-led and Afghan-managed 2014 elections are “at the very heart of a credible, inclusive, transparent, and sustainable political transition.”
The next major step in the process is the formation of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) which is reported to be done by the end of the week.
UNAMA today reiterated its call that a civil society representative be included on the IECC. Civil society was not part of the process in selecting the members of the IEC, who were finalized earlier this month.