Election Campaign Continues in Afghanistan with British Financial Support – New Candidate Emerges

  • Abdul Latif Pedram entered the race. He's a controversial political figure in Afghanistan.
  • More than two weeks have passed since the start of the Afghan presidential campaign with only five candidates officially launching their campaigns.
  • The British government announced that the IDA has allocated £8 million (about $10 million) to a United Nations Election Support Program, including £4 million pledged by Britain.

The British Embassy in Kabul announced its contribution of $4 million to support the Afghan presidential election this year. Meanwhile, in the run-up to the election, another candidate, Abdul Latif Pedram, began his campaign with the slogan “Justice, Security, and Freedom.”

Abdul Latīf Pedrām (born 29 July 1963) is a politician and a Member of Parliament in Afghanistan. He emerged as a controversial figure in the press and political circles for campaigning for women’s personal rights, a taboo subject in Afghanistan’s culture. Currently, he is the leader of the National Congress Party of Afghanistan and is one of the nine representatives of Badakhshan province in the lower house of parliament.

Mr. Pedram said today that he wanted to create an “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan-Khorasan” system. He said Afghanistan should be divided into federal zones with each giving decision-making power to people and neighborhoods to manage their social, economic and military issues. He said he did not mean “ethnic federalism.” Mr. Pedram also added, “Our economic theory is the creation of a social market economy rather than a neoliberal market economy.”

Mr. Pedram, a controversial political figure in Afghanistan, is the head of the Afghan National Congress Party, one of the most vocal critics of the government. He has always called for the federalization of the political system, but his opponents have accused him of having extremist and divisive views. Pedram was also a candidate in the recent parliamentary elections in Badakhshan but failed to get to parliament. He has elected Ehsanullah Heidari as first deputy and Mohammad Sadiq Wardak as his second deputy in the election.

More than two weeks have passed since the start of the Afghan presidential campaign with only five candidates officially launching their campaigns.

The British government announced that the International Development Agency has allocated £8 million (about $10 million) to a United Nations Election Support Program, which is responsible for providing assistance to independent election bodies. A statement from the British Embassy in Kabul said the sum also included the £4 million pledged by Britain. “I am happy that the UK can support this democratic process by providing this assistance,” said Allison Blake, the British ambassador to Kabul. He emphasized the importance of holding Afghan elections and called early elections a step towards a stable and democratic future for Afghanistan.

The President of Afghanistan is elected using the two-round system; if no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the first round, a second round will be held featuring the top two candidates.

Although there are doubts and objections about the Afghan elections, the presidential citadel insists that the elections will be held. With the government appearing to be under political and economic pressure to hold the elections, British aid could be good news for election supporters. In recent days, a source  from Taliban office in Qatar said that  “holding elections means opposing peace” but presidential spokesman Sediq Siddiqui said, “the Taliban cannot stand against the will of the overwhelming majority.”

The cost of the Afghan presidential election is estimated at $5 million, with the bulk of it coming from the government, and the rest will be covered by international institutions. The elections will be held on the sixth of October this year, according to the IEC calendar.

The Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (FIFA), is expressing concern over the low level of international community participation in the elections saying that the organizing bodies face many problems. Youssef Rashid, chief executive of the organization, told news reporters that doubts were raised about the conduct of the election and the lack of public participation because of the lack of planning by the electoral institutions and the involvement of some parties in the process.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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