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53pc of Afghans willing to vote in upcoming polls: survey

53pc of Afghans willing to vote in upcoming polls: survey

Oct 09, 2017 - 19:51

KABUL (Pajhwok): A new survey shows 53 percent of people want to participate in the upcoming elections while 41 percent believe the election bodies lack the capacity to hold polls.

Conducted by the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), the survey took three-month to be completed by interviewing 2,967 people associated with political parties and civil society organization.

The respondents also included students, social organizations, women, government employees and other different groups aging from 18 to 55 years.

The survey was conducted in 25 provinces to know about public trust in the electoral bodies, their interest in future elections and government’s neutrality during elections.

The result shows 29 percent of people trusted the election commission’s capacity regarding holding conduct polls while 30 percent did not believe the election bodies and 41 percent said the election commission lacked the required capacity to conduct elections.

Another section of the survey shows that 29 percent of people believed the government would be neutral during elections and 38 percent believed the government might not be neutral.

According to the survey, 45 percent of the respondents were optimistic about the conduct of Wolesi Jirga elections at its announced date. But 32 percent did not believe the elections would be held on its due date while 32 percent said the Wolesi Jirga election would not happen at the announced date.

Fourteen percent people said they would not take part in elections, 33 percent were not sure about their partaking while 53 percent said they would take part in the future polls.

Shams Rasokh, TEFA’s program director, told a press conference in Kabul that the respondents listed factors behind their distrust and impossibility of conducting elections in time by the commission. He said the respondents cited security issues and bitter experiences from the past elections behind their reluctance to take part in the democratic exercise.

According to him, other reasons mentioned by the interviewees regarding their distrust in elections were lack of a strong government’s will to hold elections, corruption, non-implementation of laws, compromised independence and lack of capability.

He said other reasons cited included influence and interference of strongmen in elections, foreign countries’ meddling in controlling election results, inefficiency of the National Assembly in previous terms, lack of trust in the election system and the government.

Naeem Ayoubzada, TEFA head, also spoke on the occasion, criticizing the postponement of elections by the government. He alleged the government had no strong will to conduct transparent elections.

“The government until now should have a plan for holding presidential elections. But if it has no plan, it shows they don’t want presidential elections.”

Mazullah Dawlati, IEC commissioner, who attended the conference, thanked the TEFA for the survey, saying it was a moment of pleasure that interest of participating in elections existed.

“Keeping in view this survey, we will make efforts to roll out programmes that could increase people’s interest in elections.” He asked election watchdogs to suggest solutions to the IEC besides conducting surveys.