Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Afghan Youth Debates: Khost Voters Disheartened by Election
A senior lecturer at Sheikh Zayed University in the southeastern province of Khost has said the recent election failed to meet voter’s expectations.
Amir Bahir said he believed widespread fraud, combined with a failure to promote the participation of women, undermined the April 5 presidential and provincial polls, leaving many Afghans disheartened by the process.
"Strengthening and institutionalising a democratic system in a society depends on good elections," he told an audience of undergraduates on May 12. "If fraud occurs, it is a great betrayal of those Afghans who fulfilled their responsibility by voting. Afghans participated in the April 5 polls, but the people's hopes were not met."
Bahir was speaking at an IWPR debate at which participants were invited to voice their views on how effective the historic vote was. A second round run-off between the two leading contenders – Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah – will be held on June 14.
Sahebuddin Zadran, a regional representative of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), dismissed Bahier's claims and said he believed the election had been a success.
He claimed the IEC had done its job well, ensuring complex logistical problems were solved and minimising instances of fraud. He also insisted that the IEC was ready to oversee the second round of voting.
Rahim Gul Nayel is a student at Khost University and an IWPR trainee.
This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.
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