Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections: 18 September 2010
Afghanistan’s Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on 18 September 2010 to elect 249 lawmakers for the Lower House of Parliament (Wolesi Jirga).
The Afghan Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is responsible for administering the election, and the five-member Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) will adjudicate. There are two UN-appointed international commissioners on the ECC.
Voter registration opened on 13 June, giving voters a chance to update the current register.
What is the role of the United Nations?
On 6 March, President Karzai requested technical and logistical support from UNAMA for the elections, according to Security Council resolution 1917 (2010), in which the Council reaffirmed the leading role of UNAMA in providing overall coordination of international support to the electoral process.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) takes the lead in coordinating international support for the IEC's electoral operations (such as support to the IEC for operational planning, procurement, development of procedures and training, and logistics). UNDP also coordinates support related to other areas of the election, including, for example, for electoral observers, political parties and the media.
According to the latest Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Afghanistan (June 2010), the UN “will also coordinate international electoral assistance to support the Commission and ensure operational coherence and effectiveness in the provision of electoral aid.”
During the elections, the role of the United Nations will also be to promote and assist existing Afghan capacity.
In addition, the United Nations has a long-term electoral support programme, conducted by the UNDP, which focuses on promoting and assisting Afghan capacity in electoral work. This also focuses on longer-term electoral reform which is important in strengthening the foundation for future elections and building strong Afghan electoral institutions.
Women’s participation in the elections
There are 400 women candidates for the Wolesi Jirga elections. This is up from the 2005 elections (328 candidates). This number ensures that, at a minimum, women candidates will fill all 68 seats allocated for women and are likely to win additional seats.
The IEC as well as women's civil society organizations are currently engaged in mobilizing women to register as voters so that they can exercise their right to select their representatives.
Security for the elections
Security conditions are of course a major challenge for the election, not just for polling day but for the lead-up period for campaigning. The Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) are responsible for election security – they are developing a security plan, in consultation with International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
For more on the Election System in Afghanistan, download the primer on the Single Non-Transferable Vote System
Independent Election Commission
Electoral Complaints Commission