20 May 2010

Afghan poll likely to be undemocratic, says EU ambassador

The "Irish Examiner" published today an article by Juno McEnroe titled "Ambassador: Afghan poll likely to be undemocratic":


Excerpts: "The EU ambassador to Afghanistan has admitted the upcoming parliamentary elections are likely to be undemocratic as a circle of bloody violence continues to cripple the country. Having pumped $75 million (€61m) of EU taxpayers' money [...] into elections in the war-torn nation, [...] EU ambassador Vygaudas Usackas said [...:] 'We wish to have them [the elections] fair and transparent, but it won't be democratic. It won't. I want to be honest with the taxpayers. We won't have the elections we wish to have. Afghanistan has never had a traditional democracy, it has been 30 years in war and they are surrounded by many undemocratic countries in the region. The West, the EU and Americans, we have been exaggerating the expectations in terms of the circumstances we face.'

"About 80% of Afghans are illiterate, according to the EU. Concerns about the September elections include fraudulent or double voting as well as coerced voting, coming on the back of widespread accusations that last year's presidential elections were partially rigged. The ambassador added: '[...] We don't have a voter register. Maybe there's 25, 35 or 40 million voters.' A robust system for voting checks and complaints was needed, he said. EU funding for both elections has included paying for printing, salaries, transportation, training of voting officers as well as security for female candidates."

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