Building Markets Launches Afghan Civil Society Conference on Anti-Fraud Measures for the (2014) Elections
Post By: Sharif Samsor
On 09 January 2014, Building Markets hosted a discussion on fraud mitigation measures for the (2014) election. The event took place at the Kabul Star Hotel in Shar-ie-Naw – Kabul, Afghanistan. Participants included representatives from the National Assembly of Afghanistan, the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC), the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), members of organizations of the Afghan Civil Society Network (ACSEN), civil society representatives, several international organizations, foreign embassies, and a wide coverage of national and international media.
Ensuring that the 2014 elections in Afghanistan are free and fair has been a priority of Building Markets. Currently, Building Markets is providing training to Afghan CSOs working on electoral issues. Electoral fraud is a major issue, and discussion and proactive planning among Afghan organizations is key to ensuring free and fair elections.
Building Markets hosted the panel of distinguished guests: Dr. Anarkali Honaryar, member of Afghan National Assembly; hon. Mr. Sadiqizada Nili, member of Afghan National Assembly; Dr. Abdulrahman Hotaki, Deputy Chairman of IEC; and Mr. Nader Mohseni, IECC Commissioner. The event was attended by over 110 participants representing national and international organizations, embassies and media.
The event began with recitation of holy Quran followed by panelist speeches; Senator Dr. Anarkhali Hunaryar was the first speaker of the event, and quickly touched the challenges of the previous election and the challenges that should be measured for the upcoming election. “Insecurity paves the way for fraud in elections,” she said, adding, “there are many other factors of fraud in the elections such as local warlord’s interventions, government officials, and use of authority or state resources in favor or against a specific candidate.”
Building Markets delivered a presentation on Strategy and Anti-Fraud Measures for the 2014 Elections. Issues covered in the presentation include the importance of Anti-Fraud measures in electoral process, the definition of electoral fraud, electoral violations, review of the legal framework to prevent electoral fraud in Afghanistan, fraud during the last elections, measures by national and international observer organizations, and civil society and media. The event was a great platform for interactive discussions on fraud mitigation measures that can be exercised by observer entities during the upcoming elections.
Participants discussed many themes, including internationally accepted definitions of electoral fraud, an analysis of the Afghan legal framework in terms of fraud prevention, an overview of factors that contributed to fraud during the 2009 and 2010 elections, and discussion on the role of civil society during the elections.
The interactive discussion ended with question and answers of participants from the panelists. The concerns of Afghan civil society organizations on the fraud during the upcoming elections have been shared with the officials of IEC and IECC.
These issues are of great concern as Afghanistan approaches what will be a monumental opportunity for democratic action: ensuring that democratic actors are strong and prepared with the tools and knowledge they need in order to combat election fraud will assist in a free and fair electoral process to better serve the Afghan people.