Effective Observation for the 2014 Elections
Post by: Sharif Samsor
On 13 February 2014, Building Markets hosted an interactive discussion on effective observation for the 2014 elections. The event took place at the Kabul Star Hotel in Shar-e-Naw – Kabul, Afghanistan. Participants included representatives from the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA), Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), Democracy International (DI), the Afghanistan Civil Society Elections Network (ACSEN), Civil Society Representatives, Afghanistan Democracy Watch (ADW), foreign embassies, and wide coverage through national and international media.
Observation is an important tool for improving the quality of elections in countries like Afghanistan, as it helps build the confidence of the public and promotes and protects the civil and political rights of participants in the electoral process. Observation plays a vital role in any election, but it is mostly helpful in countries where a significant proportion of the population lacks trust in the overall electoral process.
Building Markets hosted a panel of distinguished guests, including Mr. Nader Nadery, Chairman of Free and Fair Election forum of Afghanistan; Mr. Naim Ayubzada, Director General of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan; Mr. Greg Manjiak, Senior Advisor for the Democracy International; and Mr. Muhammad Farid Afghanzai, Director of External Relations of the Independent Election Commission. The event was attended by over 100 participants representing national and international organizations, embassies and media.
The event began with a recitation of holy Quran followed by statements from panelists. Mr. Nader Nadery initiated the panel discussion, highlighting his concern of the threat of armed opposition of the government in relation to the upcoming election: “The armed opposition groups threaten the election process in the country. I hope the Afghan government will overcome these threats and repel the risks.” He also added, “Civil Society Organizations will facilitate and appoint over 10,000 observers to do observation of the election process in the country. Mostly, the populated areas and the areas where fraud happened during last elections will be covered by the assigned observers.”
During his statement, Mr. Naim Ayubzada said, “Our focus areas for observation are the North, Northeast, and Eastern regions, where during last elections the participation of women was low.” The interactive panel discussion ended with a Q&A period between participants and panelists.
Building Markets delivered a presentation on Effective Observation for the 2014 Election. Issues covered in the presentation include the difference between observation and monitoring, types of observation, rights and responsibilities of observers, a review of the legal framework in relation to observation, planning for election observation, the importance of national and international observation to ensure credibility and transparency of the upcoming elections in Afghanistan, international best practice for electoral observation, lessons learned from electoral observation in past, and approaches for effective observation for the upcoming elections.
On 2nd February 2014, the presidential and provincial candidates began campaigning. The people of Afghanistan will go to polling stations to vote for their president on 5th April 2014.