Afghanistan’s main political parties on Saturday claimed the current voter registration process is riddled with irregularities which will lead to a crisis in the country.
The remarks were made at a gathering in Kabul involving Jamiat-e-Islami, Hizb-e-Islami, Hizb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami, Mahaz-e-Milli party, Islamic National Movement of Afghanistan and a few other parties.
Members of the parties held discussions on issues related to the elections and then issued a statement in which they called on government and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) tosuspend the voter registration process and all other electoral activities.
The political parties lodged a range of demands.
They called for changes to be brought to the electoral system, the suspension of the voter registration process, rolling out a biometric system for voter registration and declaring each province a single constituency.
“This registration process that cannot stop fraud should be declared invalid as soon as possible and a new registration process should be launched using biometric technology,” said Assadullah Sadati, a representative of the Hizb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami party.
“We will use all ways and possibilities to stop this process which will create a crisis,” said Ehsanullah Sediqi, a member of the executive team of Mahaz-e-Milli party.
The election commission meanwhile said the political parties’ demands have been lodged too late but that they will put all possible measures in place to prevent electoral fraud.
Officials from the IEC said instead of boycotting elections, political parties should cooperate with the commission in monitoring the election process.
“The voter registration process has some problems and challenges, but in total I can say it will be transparent,” IEC commissioner Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi said.
According to the IEC, so far around nine million people have registered to vote in the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections.
Out of this, details on about 250,000 voters have been entered into the voter database. The IEC said they have not picked up any irregularities as yet regarding this process.