Local News Summary – September 7, 2010

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend

In today's local and international news: Security worries force candidates to stand for election in Kabul; a candidate in Ghazni discusses his security fears; three AREU papers examine the elections; IEC vows to investigate one of its officials; 5,000 security personnel to safeguard elections in Baghlan; Kabul candidates use inventive ways to attract votes; Ghazni MP says transparent poll difficult.


Why Are So Many Politicians Running in Kabul?
Time, Sept 7, 2010

Take a walk around the Afghan capital and the faces on posters are everywhere: proud, defiant, smiling — or shredded into slivers. With the country's parliamentary elections just two weeks away, campaigning has intensified, and nowhere more than in Kabul, where a whopping 664 candidates — more than a quarter of the total nationwide — will be on a ballot that might resemble a book. [Time]

Running Scared: Afghan Candidates Risk Their Lives
NPR, Sept 7, 2010

Any American politician will tell you that campaigning is vital to winning an election. But in Afghanistan, candidates say campaigning is likely to get you killed. At least three Afghan candidates running in the upcoming parliamentary polls have been killed in recent weeks, along with more than a dozen campaign workers. Others have been wounded or kidnapped in attacks that show no signs of abating. Not surprisingly, candidates like Daoud Sultanzoi in Taliban strongholds like Ghazni, a dangerous province south of Kabul, are especially at risk. [NPR]

Unexamined Issues of the Critical 2010 Election
AREU, 11am, Sept 7, 2010

An AREU brief [PDF] examines the undiscussed stories surrounding the 2010 parliamentary election. It argues that while the media have focused on fraud and insecurity, there are other significant narratives being missed by the coverage preceding the polls.
The paper provides a brief outline into the alternative but fundamental narratives that were being voiced and heard by Afghans in the run-up to the election. It contends that many political actors have been able to use insecurity to their advantage in the election process, and in some cases are actually encouraging violence that is often glossed over as Taliban insurgency. [AREU]

The Wolesi Jirga in Flux, 2010 and Parliamentarians and Local Politics in Afghanistan
AREU, Sept 7, 2010

Two new AREU discussion papers explore the way in which elections can contribute to instability at the national and local levels in Afghanistan. One examines the nature of politicking within the lower house of parliament in the run up to the election, and argues that in the context of increasing instability, in which the “rules of the game” are not equally applied to all players, there is a clear disincentive for parliamentarians to declare or make public one’s political allegiances or party affiliations. Another study analyses the relationship between elections and instability at the local level. Based on research in Kabul, Balkh and Paktia Provinces, it explores how MPs fit into three very different local political contexts. [AREU]

Manawi promises probe against IEC chief in Khost
Pajhwok Afghan News, 6pm Sept 6

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief Fazal Ahmad Manawi said on Monday he would form a delegation to investigate moral corruption charges against the poll panel's regional head in Khost. "I shall appoint a team to investigate the charges against Shahzada Hassan. If the allegations are proved correct, the regional head of the election commission will be removed and referred to the Attorney General's office," he said.
Earlier, Khost provincial council members accused the IEC regional head of having illicit relations with female employees of the commission. The allegations have been rejected as baseless by Mr Hassan. Mr Manawi said 175 polling centers had been planned in Khost earlier but 71 of them will not open on election day. [PAN]

Baghlan to have 5,000 troops for poll security
Pajhwok Afghan News, 8pm, Sept 6, 2010

As many as 5,000 Afghan and foreign soldiers will maintain security for the September 18 parliamentary election in the northern province of Baghlan, a senior official said on Monday. 
With the deployment, residents of the troubled districts including Dahna-i-Ghori, Dand-i-Ghori and Baghlan-i-Markazi would be able to go to polling stations and cast their votes without any fear, said Provincial Governor Munshi Abdul Majeed.
The Taliban had warned people against going to polling centers, threatening to cut off their fingers if voted and did not abide by the warning.  "I don't want to vote, because the government may only ensure us security on election day. What will happen to us after the election is not clear," said Hakimullah, a resident of Dand-i-Ghori district. [PAN]

Candidates campaign by distributing CDs, T-shirts
Pajhwok Afghan News, 6pm, Sept 6, 2010

Many of the candidates standing for the September 18 parliamentary election have eschewed the traditional way of gathering support and are distributing CDs, T-shirts and notebooks as well as reaching out to voters on Facebook.
Ramazan Bashar Dost, a contender in the capital Kabul, said his CD contained a recording of his manifesto, as well as debates held during the previous parliament in which he points out former MPs' mistakes. Each CD costs about 10 to 20 afghanis. He is also selling photos of him talking to people with disabilities, war victims and poor people in Helmand province for 5 afghanis each, he told Pajhwok Afghan News. So far he has sold about 4,000 CDs, posters and tapes during different meetings with people across Kabul.
Other contestants are handing out T-shirts with their voting number, electoral symbol and names printed on them. Janan Musa Zai has distributed about 600 of the bright orange shirts that have become his trademark. His supporters wear them in the city and when he goes out to campaign in the rural areas. He has also attracted 500 fans on Facebook, he said. [PAN]

Shah Gul Razaie: “People’s care and attention in voting would bring positive change”
8 am, Dari daily, Sept 7, 2010

Ghazni MP and candidate Shah Gul Razaie said: "There are two major problems in the way of election in Ghazni province. Firstly, there are some candidates who are running with the support of huge piles of cash. These very wealthy candidates can bribe election officials and win with fraudulent votes. Secondly, in many remote and insecure parts of Ghazni national and international election observers and monitors cannot go and do their work. Thus, it is making the possibility of holding a fair and transparent election even more difficult."