GARDEZ (Pajhwok): The youth on Saturday stressed the need for highlighting the importance of the June 14 presidential runoff election through awareness-creating programmes in southeastern Paktia province.
The demand was made at a gathering in Gardez, the provincial capital. The gathering titled “Youth Participation in Elections” was organized by a non-governmental organisation “ARD”.
The gathering discussed the insufficient number of polling centres, ballot papers’ shortage, security challenges and fraud instances during the previous round of presidential elections on April 5.
Noor Akbar, who attended the gathering, told Pajhwok Afghan News the previous elections were marred by a number of weaknesses. He said they wanted mistakes occurred in the previous elections should not be repeated in the runoff vote.
Another participant, Mohammad Salim, urged the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to ensure electoral materials had reached all polling centres across the country in-time. He said many polling centres had run out of ballot papers in the previous elections.
IEC official in Paktia Sher Ali Faizi told Pajhwok Afghan News on the sidelines of the gathering that the past mistakes would not be repeated.
“We are planning to add 98 additional polling stations to the existing polling centres in order to facilitate the voters,” he said.
He said so far 400,000 applications had been received for voting cards, indicating the turnout in Paktia would be higher than the previous elections.
Faizi said they had held talks with tribal elders and religious scholars to help create awareness about the upcoming elections.
Local officials say 250,000 people had voted in the April 5 elections in Paktia.