UNAMA highlights need for elections free from fraud
KABUL - With less than three weeks to go before Afghans vote for a new President and Provincial Councils, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) highlights the need for elections which are free from malpractice, including fraud, which could prejudice the results.
“Any actions which erode the trust in these elections should be avoided as they, ultimately, damage the legitimacy of the future Government and Afghanistan's national interests,” said the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and acting head of UNAMA, Nicholas Haysom. “With so much at stake, Afghans deserve to have elections that are inclusive, credible, transparent and free from any activity which could taint the results – this is also crucial for Afghanistan's future stability.”
The UNAMA official made the comments following a meeting today with the Chairperson, Dr. Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani, and the Chief Electoral Officer, Zia-ul-haq Amarkhail, of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC).
UNAMA notes that candidates bear the primary responsibility to prevent fraud and have an obligation to ensure that their supporters do not commit fraud in their name.
“Fraud amounts to stealing the vote of a fellow Afghan citizen, which is unacceptable,” Mr. Haysom said. “Fraud not only affects the acceptability of the final verdict by the Afghan people, but will also definitely have consequences in terms of the international community's future aid commitments to Afghanistan.”
“Fraud is not in the interests of candidates. They will be associated with stealing votes and will have the credibility of their support undermined, so supporters should be clearly warned against this by the candidates themselves,” Mr. Haysom added.
The UN Mission notes that the Afghan electoral authorities have put in place strict anti-fraud measures to detect fraud and endorses the recent call by Chairperson Nuristani to government officials not to deploy government resources in favour of specific candidates. Those who commit fraud will be arrested and penalized by Afghan law enforcement authorities.
The Mission also notes that the presence of observers and candidate agents at the polling centres is crucial to ensure the transparency of the elections, and calls on observer organisations, political parties, and campaigns to register with the IEC by 22 March and to accredit their individual poll monitors by 29 March.
Afghanistan is slated to hold Presidential and Provincial Council elections on 5 April.