UN stresses credible poll complaints panel

KABUL (PAN): The top United Nations diplomat in Afghanistan on Wednesday underlined the need for effective arrangements for inclusive presidential and provincial council elections, scheduled to be held next year.
The secretary general’s special representative, Jan Kubis, said: “The UN, which recently extended its mission in Afghanistan by another year, wants inclusive and transparent elections, as well as effective measures to prevent fraud.”
Addressing a news conference in Kabul, Jan Kubis said a draft election law currently being debated by the parliament should be approved soon to create an enabling environment for credible polls.  
He promised the world body would support the process through capacity development of election workers, technical support to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), civic education for voters and measures to prevent fraud.
“The complaints mechanism should be established by an independent and credible institution and I hope a legal framework will be put in place for managing electoral affairs,” the UNAMA chief added.
“We are in touch with civil society organisations, political parties and other institutions involved in the election process. We listen to their comments regarding the election.” He explained the Afghan government would lead the process and the UN would only advise it.
Kubis welcomed President Hamid Karzai’s recent commitment to the establishment of an impartial and credible mechanism to address electoral complaints.
Kubis also announced UN support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. The opening of Taliban’s Qatar office would facilitate talks between representatives of both sides, he believed. “I hope the establishment of the office will produce good results.”
UNAMA would continue to support High Peace Council efforts at finding effective ways of stabilising the country and would try to involve political parties in negotiations, the diplomat said.

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