Upcoming Afghan elections "on track," challenges remain: UN envoy

08:17, August 13, 2010      

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A top UN envoy on Thursday said "operationally and logistically" the process for Afghanistan' s upcoming legislative elections in September is "on track," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here.

With only 37 days until Afghans head to the polls, Staffan de Mistura, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special representative for Afghanistan, highlighted the challenges ahead, Nesirky said at a news briefing here.

De Mistura called upon the Afghan security forces to show heightened vigilance over the coming two months.

"We have already seen widespread intimidation with regard to female candidates, the killing of three candidates and other violence directed against a number of other candidates. This is unacceptable," said De Mistura in a statement.

"We all know that security challenges will be a significant obstacle and we must ensure that poor security in parts of the country is not used to manipulate the votes of the people," de Mistura said.

Meanwhile, the special representative noted that the UN agrees with the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in Afghanistan on the need to make the list of polling stations by Aug. 18.

"Making the list public, one month in advance of the elections, is essential for the transparency of the electoral process," quoted Nesirky.

Calling on all Afghan voters to make an informed vote on the Sept. 18, De Mistura said their vote is the final decision maker in determining the country's future.

Preparations have been under way for the elections, slated to be held on 18 September. The ballot papers arrived in the country last week and campaigning by the large number of candidates has recently stepped up.

Source: Xinhua


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