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Afghan presidential election delayed

March 21, 2019

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KABUL: Afghanistan has delayed its presidential election until Sept 28, officials announced on Wednesday, the second time the ballot has been put back and five months later than it was originally scheduled to be held.

The presidential ballot was originally scheduled for April 20, then delayed to July 20. Many observers had considered both dates unrealistic given the Indepen­dent Election Commission (IEC) is still finalising resu­lts of October’s shambolic parliamentary elections.

The IEC said in a statement on Wednesday that the vote had faced “numerous problems and challenges ... therefore holding the elections based on the timelines previously announced is not possible”. “In order to better implement the rule of election law, ensure transparency as well as voter registration, the presidential election, provincial council election as well as the parliamentary election of Ghazni province will be held on September 28,” the statement said.

The election should go ahead, it added, “provided all relevant sides, especially the government and the international community, provide the IEC with the required budget on time”.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, who plans to seek re-election, said the government respects the decision and is “fully prepared to cooperate with the IEC”.

Many Afghans are worried that Ghani’s fragile unity government would collapse if US troops pulled out, enabling the Taliban to return to power and potentially sparking another bloody civil war.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019