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Afghanistan's Belated Elections Scheduled For Next Year

President Ashraf Ghani
President Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan has set July 7, 2018 as the date for holding long-delayed parliamentary and provincial elections.

Najibullah Ahmadzai, the head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), said in Kabul on June 22 that the new date was fixed after discussions with the government.

The elections were supposed to be held in June 2015 but were postponed due to disagreements between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah over electoral reforms.

Ghani has issued a decree to extend the terms of parliament members, though that move's legality has been questioned.

“The people of Afghanistan have made clear their desire for credible, inclusive elections,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan. “We welcome the IEC’s commitment to a realistic date for holding parliamentary and district council elections, and to an improved and transparent electoral process.”

Security in Afghanistan has become increasingly fragile and a growing insurgency could jeopardize the elections, particularly in areas where fighting is ongoing or are under the control of Taliban militants.

Based on reporting by dpa