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IEC views insecurity as grave threat to elections.

KABUL (PAN): The Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief on Wednesday described security problems as the main challenge to next year's presidential and provincial council polls.

Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani made the remarks at the launch of the project Increasing Women's Political Participation and Dialogue Opportunities in Afghanistan.

This project will provide capacity building assistance to female members of parliament, women provincial councilors and potential female candidates to run in 2014-15 elections.

Nuristani told reporters that security problems posed a threat to inclusive elections despite assurances from the relevant state organs.

He believed peace and security in the country depended to a large extent on public cooperation with the government. He urged the compatriots, specially women, to participate actively in the electoral process.

The IEC stoutly supported women's role in the democratic exercise, he said, asking security personnel to pay greater heed to females' security.

Ziaul Haq Amarkhel, the IEC secretary, also stressed women's participation in the polls. All possible efforts were being made to conduct elections in a credible manner, he said.

Insecurity and lack of public awareness about the importance of polls were major problems, he noted, seeking cooperation from political parties and civil society in the successful conduct of elections.

The project about Increasing Women's Political Participation and Dialogue Opportunities in Afghanistan would help improve public awareness, Amarkhel hoped.

"Women comprise half of the society and their participation in the Election process, in fact, legitimises the process," he said, the IEC planned activities to promote females' participation in candidacy, voting and working as employees.

UK Department for International Development (DFID) has committed financial support for this initiative and the grant is awarded to the Asia Foundation to implement this project.

The DFID representative said: "It is vital that women participate in the forthcoming presidential, provincial and parliamentary elections. This programme will help maintain women's visibility and role in political processes."

Asia Foundation Country Representative Mark Kryzer said: "The Asia Foundation has been helping to improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan since 1954. We are very excited to assist women candidates for the elections and to generally support women's' participation in the political process."


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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Aug 28, 2013
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