Oct 01, 2013
By Mayank Bubna, Research Fellow

Election coverage for Afghanistan’s presidential post has long been anticipatory in nature – trying to predict what will happen the week of elections. Monitoring of the elections by various international parties is widespread, traditionally focusing on issues such as stuffing of ballot boxes, manipulation of voter registration cards, etc. This has had the unintended negative consequence of prompting incumbents and other political elites to resort to other pseudo-legal tactics such as influencing political institutions, governance and freedom months prior to the elections. In doing so, even though the actual elections may have the countenance of credibility they may be deeply inadequate and defective. This report highlights three ways by which the process of elections can be inadvertently tampered with: (i) Uneasy relationship among political parties, despite forging deals with each other  (ii) Prevalence of weak institutions, a reference to those structures that organize electoral processes: structure of electoral bodies, campaign financing, laws and rules that allocate power to political leaders, etc. (iii) Burgeoning insecurity for a citizenry that is being victimized in the midst of a two-sided war. Arguments for these three potential mechanisms are made using developments over the last two months.

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