The presidential and provincial council elections held in Afghanistan in August 2009 were marred by irregularities and fraud, leading voters and candidates to question the fairness and utility of the democratic process there. The Afghan government announced in late January that it will delay Parliamentary elections until September 2010--several months beyond the deadline set by Afghanistan’s constitution.

9

Summary

  • The presidential and provincial council elections held in Afghanistan in August 2009 were marred by irregularities and fraud, leading voters and candidates to question the fairness and utility of the democratic process there.
  • The Afghan government announced in late January that it will delay Parliamentary elections until September 2010--several months beyond the deadline set by Afghanistan’s constitution.
  • The extra time is needed to make adequate logistical preparations, but little has been done so far to reform electoral institutions or policies to prevent a repeat of the problems of the 2009 elections.
  • Without signicant changes in the personnel and policies of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)--the constitutional body responsible for overseeing all electoral processes--the 2010 election is likely to fall below international standards and risks undermining government (and international) legitimacy at a critical period for the counterinsurgency strategy.
  • In addition, signicant long-term reforms, including a wholesale revision of the voter registry, must be initiated now to ensure that the district council and other future Afghan elections are credible and acceptable.

About This Brief

Scott Worden is a senior rule of law adviser with the U.S. Institute of Peace, and recently served as one of three international commissioners appointed by the United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary General for Afghanistan to serve on the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) for the 2009 Afghan elections. The ECC was mandated to adjudicate all electoral disputes according to the Afghan electoral law. This report reflects the personal views of the author.

Related Publications

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Thursday, November 19, 2020

By: Scott Worden

The Taliban’s tactic of running out the clock on the U.S. troop presence may bear fruit after the announcement on Tuesday that U.S. forces will reduce to 2,500 by January 15. The Trump administration successfully created leverage by engaging directly with the Taliban to meet their paramount goal of a U.S. withdrawal in exchange for genuine peace talks and counterterrorism guarantees. This strategy brought about unprecedented negotiations between Afghan government representatives and the Taliban in Doha. A walk down a conditions-based path to peace, long and winding as it may be, had begun.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Constitutional Issues in the Afghan Peace Negotiations: Process and Substance

Constitutional Issues in the Afghan Peace Negotiations: Process and Substance

Friday, November 13, 2020

By: Barnett R. Rubin

The peace negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban that began in September in Doha, Qatar, will almost certainly include revisiting the country’s constitution. Both sides claim to abide by Islamic law, but they interpret it in very different ways. This report examines some of the constitutional issues that divide the two sides, placing them within the context of decades of turmoil in Afghanistan and suggesting ideas for how the peace process might begin to resolve them.

Type: Special Report

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Pathways for Post-Peace Development in Afghanistan

Pathways for Post-Peace Development in Afghanistan

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

By: Khyber Farahi; Scott Guggenheim

Even if the warring parties in Afghanistan manage to secure a still-elusive agreement on resolving the current conflict, significant economic challenges remain for the country, which will require continued assistance and support for core government functions. This report, based on an examination of Afghanistan’s recent development performance, provides a framework for how the Afghan government and its donor partners can more effectively deliver equitable development going forward.

Type: Special Report

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Afghan Peace Process Tests Women Activists

Afghan Peace Process Tests Women Activists

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Matthew Parkes

More than a month after Afghan peace talks formally began, the effort to end the war in Afghanistan is stalled, and no one faces higher stakes than Afghan women. The attempt at negotiations has snagged on preliminary issues, the Taliban have escalated their attacks, and all sides are watching the evolution of the U.S. military role in the country. Afghan women’s rights advocates say the moment, and the need for international support, is critical. U.S. officials have noted how U.S assistance can be vital in supporting women’s rights, a principle that can be advanced at a global donors’ conference next month.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Gender; Peace Processes

View All Publications