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5 Million Afghans Register To Vote Ahead Of Elections

The Independent Election Commission says the first phase of voter registration process will end on 7 June.

Statistics by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) show that 4,937,317 people have registered to vote countrywide since the beginning of the voter registration process in April 14.

The IEC said 760 voter registration centers remain closed due to security threats across the country.

Government forces have transferred election materials to at least 53 centers over the past week, the commission said.

From those registered, 3,263,630 are male, 1579439 are female, and 93,731 of them are Kuchis while 517 belong to Sikh minority group.

IEC commissioner Sayed Hafiz Hashimi said election materials have not reached to Khumab and Qarqin districts in Jawzjan, Kohistan district in Badakhshan, Geyan and Gomal districts in Paktika, Marjah district in Helmand, Dai Chopan district in Zabul and four districts in Faryab province.

The first phase of voter registration process will end on 7 June. But the IEC has said that discussions are ongoing to extend the process.

“Materials should have been delivered on time, but the (Afghan Army’s) aircrafts were busy in (military) operations therefore the delivery of election materials by air was delayed. However voter registration is ongoing in districts where the materials have reached,” Hashimi said.

He said the commission has started its assessment and that financial and security issues will be discussed with government.

The IEC figures show that 3,379 centers are open from 4,491 centers nationwide.

Election monitoring groups and observers said they are worried about safety of IEC employees.

“I think we will not have credible and transparent elections unless we have access to complete or at least partial security in the day of voting and in the voter registration process,” said Sediqullah Tawhidi, member of Electoral Reform Commission.

“The commission has failed to determine certain principles for this election. I don’t think that we will have a fair election,’ said Nisar Haris, a senator.

The parliamentary and districts councils’ elections is scheduled for October.

The commission has allocated 2,801 seats for parliament and district councils.

[Source: By Ansar and Anisa Shaheed, Tolo News, Kabul, 04Jun18]

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