Timeline for 2010 Wolesi Jirga Elections

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Yesterday, Afghan voters in all 34 provinces went go to the polls to elect the 249 members of the lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga. While election day has passed, the counting and tally process is expected to continue through October before final results are announced.

The elections were originally scheduled to be held in May, but were pushed back until September 18 due to security and logistical concerns. Based on the revised electoral calendar issued by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on March 25, Democracy International has produced a timeline on the key dates for the poll. In addition to the accompanying graphical representation, readers can also subscribe to a Google Calendar we have set up tracking the major milestones in the process; you add this to your own personal calendar by subscribing to the ICAL or XML links.

The Registration Period

After the publication of the calendar in March, the process began in earnest from April 13, when candidates were able to register for the poll with the IEC. This ended on May 4 when nominations for the elections closed. The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) then began on May 12 the arduous task of hearing objections to the preliminary list of nominations. Candidates with criminal records or those who are either leaders or members of illegally-armed groups are forbidden from standing for the Wolesi Jirga, as are candidates who are currently holding government positions.

As this was occurring the IEC started training public outreach officials, whose task was to help educate the first-time or uninformed voter. Upon publication of the final list of nominations on June 12, the ECC started hearing challenges to the list of nominations.

Meanwhile, a fresh round of voter registration started, following on from voter registration drives for the 2004 presidential and first Wolesi Jirga elections in 2005.

The Campaign Period

On June 22, the final list of candidates was published but the list remains subject to change pending future decisions by the ECC; some candidates have since been de-listed for failing to relinquish government positions in recent press conferences.

A day later, the official campaign period started as the IEC commenced work on the ballot designs. The balloting process included randomly assigning ballot positions and a symbol to help illiterate voters remember the candidate they wish to vote for. (A full English-language translation of the complete candidate lists and their associated icons is available in the Resources section of our website; Afghan language versions can be found at the IEC's site.) After the completion of the ballot papers, IEC staff set about packaging the ballots and other election material required for polling centers around the country.

The Voting Period

Voter registration ended on August 12 – the final chance for prospective voters to have their say in the election. After a review by Afghan and international security services, finalization of polling center locations was scheduled to be completed by August 17 and was publicized the following day; DI previously analyzed that decision here.

On September 1, the distribution of polling center kits was scheduled to start however this began earlier and is currently expected to be completed by September 5, ten days earlier than planned.

The official campaign period ended on September 16, leading to a two-day blackout for media campaigning by candidates before Election Day itself on September 18.

The Counting Period

After votes were cast on Election Day and polling centers closed at 4pm, counting began. Results will be retrieved from polling centers and sent to district and then provincial centers. The day after Election Day, results are to be sent from the provincial offices to the National Tally Center in Kabul where the tallying process will begin.

The announcement of preliminary results is expected to begin on October 1 after which the ECC will start hearing complaints. The complaints process will end on October 24 when their decisions will be sent to the IEC, and the final results of the 2010 Wolesi Jirga elections are to be announced October 30.


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