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Haidari Discusses Parliamentary Elections on Al Jazeera

On the evening of September 18, 2010, M. Ashraf Haidari spoke to the prime evening channel of Al Jazeera English, broadcasting from Washington DC, to discuss the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. Based on the initial assessments of the election across Afghanistan that day, Mr. Haidari told the channel’s global audience that the people of Afghanistan once again braved many attacks and threats to turn out and cast their ballot. Even though the award winning news anchor, Anand Naidoo, tried to criticize the low voter turnout and blame it on the Afghan government, Mr. Haidari refuted him by saying that close to 40% turnout was considered acceptable and still very high, given the context in Afghanistan in comparison with the United States where voter turnout is traditionally at 45%.

Moreover, Mr. Haidari discussed with Al Jazeera the fact that Afghanistan mostly owned and led the entire process, and that 300,000 Afghan forces in partnership with 150,000 NATO troops provided security on the elections day, which enabled many Afghans, even in insecure areas, to turn out and cast their ballot. On transparency issues, he noted the importance of the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), consisting of five members including two renowned international electoral experts, one from Iraq and another from South Africa, to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Asked on the composition of the ECC, Mr Haidari said that the replacement of its members was a sovereign matter. He noted that while “we praise the fact that the elections day took place without materialization of the enemy’s propaganda to derail the process, the coming days and weeks to address the lodged complaints and to tally the results in a transparent manner were very important.”


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