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Afghan Youth Debates: Officials Banned From Backing Candidates

By Mohammad Faisal Nawid

 

 

 

    

 

Government officials are banned from supporting candidates during the Afghan election campaign and will be prosecuted if they are caught doing so, an IWPR debate has heard.

Jafar Ali Nuri, deputy head of the legal department of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), told dozens of students attending the February 20 debate that any attempt to influence voters by publicly backing candidates would be taken extremely seriously.

Article 7 of Afghanistan’s election law says that state officials, employees of government institutions, and influential individuals "must not interfere in electoral affairs either directly or indirectly".

It adds that "the use of any state-owned asset, facility or resource in favour of or against a candidate or candidates is not permitted", unless all candidates are given equal access.

Fahim Hakim, former head of the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC), said the 2010 law spelled out very clearly that government agencies were forbidden to intervene in or influence the election process.

Lutf Ali, a student at the Ibn Sina Institute of Higher Education in Kabul, where the debate was held, asked how officials who broke the law would be dealt with.

“Anyone found violating election law, including high-ranking government officials, will be prosecuted,” Nuri replied.

Mohammad Faisal Nawid is a student at Kabul University and 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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