Afghanistan Presidential Elections 2019: The Gameplay of Democracy

Afghan employees of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) wait to register residents/Image: Gandhara RFE/RL

The question of democracy in Afghanistan is again under the limelight as Presidential Election is scheduled next month. The story of Afghan democracy has come a long way since the time of the Taliban regime which ruled the country from 1996-2001. Afghanistan a country, deeply entrenched with its culture and interpretations have had very little contributions to the field of democracy, especially in terms of its implementation. The democratic gains were to recognize fundamental rights of the citizens, freedom of speech and an increased political participation since 2001. Women participation which had almost touched the negative quadrant, however began to go a notch high with certain reforms in the institutions and electoral game.

Elections in Afghanistan have never been steady with a lot of factors at constant action. A study conducted by some analysts at the Asia Foundation have mentioned the factors that are detrimental to the Presidential elections. The report released by the study group highlights women participation, fear in public demonstrations and activities and the increasing mistrust of the citizens on their elected Member of Parliament. Corruption within political institutions and the 2014 fraudulent Presidential elections have taken a heavy toll on the Afghan democracy. The report also mentioned the increasing need for a complete independent Election Commission in order to restore the faith of the people in political participation. Serious allegations of corruption and interference of the Election commission gets in the way of actual democratic practice.

Moving to the Presidential Election, 2019 the Election Commission has already released a preliminary list of the candidates which will be finalised on 26th March, 2019. Some 18 candidates have been finalised as of now with incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former National Security Advisor Muhammad Hanif Atmar. However, there are no female candidates as compared to the 2004 and 2009 Presidential Elections. The other candidates have atleast ran two previous elections.

The upcoming elections in Afghanistan is again going to counter the essence of democracy at a time when corruption seems to have penetrated the entire system.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Arijita Sinha Roy

Arijita Sinha Roy is a Former Associate Editor (Trainee) at The Kootneeti.

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