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NEWS UPDATE

PRESS STATEMENT: UNAMA calls for continued improvements to the electoral process

KABUL, 10 June 2014 – As preparations for the 14 June Presidential run-off vote are finalized, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) calls upon all electoral stakeholders to fulfill their joint responsibility to provide the Afghan people with the best elections possible.

“The run-off vote is an unprecedented event for Afghanistan's democracy,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Jan Kubiš.

As noted by domestic and international observers, the 5 April first round vote represented an improvement on previous elections but it also contained imperfections and weaknesses. The second round presents new challenges. Further improvements to the electoral process will build trust and reassure the Afghan people that their votes will count and will make a difference. UNAMA emphasized that improvements to the electoral process are not the responsibility of any one single actor.

“Elections are both a technical and a political exercise,” noted Mr. Kubiš. “The electoral institutions must learn and implement lessons from the first round to reassure all those who want to vote that they will be able to do so, as well as to improve transparency and communication in the management of the results and complaints. But technical improvements alone will not result in a better election without the political will of candidates to respect the process and its results and to disavow fraud by their supporters, as well as for government officials to remain impartial.”

At a meeting with Mr. Kubiš on 9 June, the Commissioners of the Independent Election Commission and the Head of Secretariat spoke about efforts to date to implement the technical recommendations made by key electoral stakeholders, including the candidates and observers, on improving the second round. The Commissioners pledged to continue with their efforts to improve the election process including improvements in its transparency and communications.

Mr. Kubiš renewed his congratulations to around seven million Afghan men and women who voted on 5 April and recalled that their higher than expected participation was the foundation for the success of the first round vote.

"I entreat ordinary Afghans to repeat their extraordinary performance of 5 April," said the Special Representative. "The message that would be sent by millions of Afghans voting for their next President over two rounds would be unmistakable: Afghans remain undeterred by attacks against the democratic process and are determined to take control of their destiny and provide their next leader with a full mandate and legitimacy."
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