Afghanistan Youth and Elections

 

The April 2014 presidential election is of critical importance for Afghanistan. President Hamed Karzai will step down after more than a decade in office, and his successor will take charge at a time when the NATO-led military contingent is withdrawing from the country.

The last presidential election, held in 2009, was marred by security problems, low turnout, and allegations of manipulation and fraud. Many young people, in particular, believe the political process is controlled by powerful interests that rule out the possibility of a real expression of popular will. If democracy is to work, these new voters need to be enthused enough to take part. They should be in a position to weigh up the choices they are offered, and to distinguish fact from propaganda.