The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) on Wednesday raised concerns over the lack of candidates registered to run in the upcoming district council elections.
In some districts not even a single candidate has filed nomination papers to run in the elections, said the IEC.
IEC statistics meanwhile indicate that 3,058 people registered to run in the district council elections across Afghanistan.
Based on the law, there should be 2,800 representatives in the district councils.
According to the IEC, some districts in Uruzgan, Paktika, Paktia, Kunar, Kandahar, Helmand, Badghis and Laghman have not one candidate.
IEC chief Gula Jan Abdul Badi Sayyad said that insecurity in these regions has been the key factor behind the low candidate registration turnout in the districts.
“Our technical employees and our international partners are working, we are also concerned about this issue, because in some districts, no one has filed nomination papers – neither women nor men – for provincial councils; discussions are going on regarding the issue and the commission will take a proper decision,” said Sayad.
But, election monitoring groups have said that the core issue behind this is confusion over the functions of the district council members and the absence of a salary for them.
“The commission needs to take a serious decision about the district council elections and make it clear whether they are holding the elections in areas where people have not registered or they are changing the election process,” said Yousuf Rashid, CEO of Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA).
But former IEC chief Fazel Ahmad Manavi said the IEC’s failure to undertake an effective public awareness campaign before the process has also impacted turnout.
“In areas where the people have registered, the election must go on, but in areas where there is no candidate, the elections must be delayed, it will not create a problem, because we have the voter list,” said Manavi.
Meanwhile, 2,369 candidates have filed nomination papers to run for parliament, said the IEC.
Of those who registered for parliamentary elections, 381 of them are women and seven are Kuchis.
Over 800 of these applicants are from Kabul.