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Electoral complaints body should be priority ahead of 2014 poll: UN

29 March, 2013

KABUL: A United Nations envoy said that the top priority ahead of Afghanistan's presidential election is to found an impartial, trustworthy, and independent structure for the electoral complaints.

Special Representative of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Jan Kubis made the statement at a press conference in Kabul while stressing the UN's cooperation and support to ensure a transparent and broad election.

Kubis relayed the messages of the recent UN Secretary Council, saying the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had stressed the importance of Afghanistan's transparent election.

"The Secretary General ... stressed the need to reach an agreement on an impartial, credible, and independent electoral dispute resolution mechanism, and he marked this as a very critical, essential element of future electoral architecture. As another core element he mentioned the appointment of a respected, widely-accepted chairperson to the Independent Electoral Commission," Kubis said.

Working period of the head of the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) will end prior to the April 2014 election.

Kubis also highlighted Ban Ki-Moon's concern for women's rights in Afghanistan.

"The Secretary General, while recognising certain progress, he stated very clearly that he remains deeply disturbed that despite some improvements in prosecuting cases of violence against women, there is still a pervasive climate of impunity in Afghanistan for abuse of women and girls," he said.

Afghanistan has witnessed an apparent rise in cases of such violence, distressing actions which many parts of the country seem ambivalent about.

Meanwhile, the IEC is seeking for the final approval of the election law.

The commission's deputy Abdulkhaliq Hussaini Pashaee on Wednesday said that the Afghan parliament needs to approve as soon as possible the election law in order to clarify the IEC's competencies and structure.

He also added that the plan for transporting all election-related material and equipment is to be decided on in 10 days.

"We call upon the parliament – from this tribune – to make the election law their agenda of general meetings before anything else," he said, adding that the media should avoid reports that may trigger violence or tribalism.

"We hope that they (the media) won't provide negative comments from the TVs and Round Tables because this is a national process, and we should not harm this national process, but rather cooperate with and assist it," he added.

The IEC has sent the list of 6,918 polling booths to security organisations so that they can inspect and test out the security challenges in these areas and secure the locations.

The registration of voters – that was meant to begin by April 21 – has been postponed until May 26, while the prefixed election date remains April 5, 2014.

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