For Afghanistan, Parliamentary Elections Are Another Step on the Rocky Road to Democracy

Oct 17, 2018 | 10:00 GMT

An Afghan police officer stands guard after a political rally was attacked in Nangarhar province in early October.

An Afghan police officer stands guard outside a hospital after a suicide bomber attacked a political rally in Jalalabad, in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, on Oct. 2, 2018.



  • The disagreements arising from this year's parliamentary elections will complicate Afghanistan's presidential election in 2019 and hinder the deepening of democracy in the country.
  • The Taliban will reject the elections and their outcomes as part of their strategy of painting the government as a foreign-backed entity.
  • The halting progress on electoral reforms in the short term means the "ethnicization" of Afghan politics will endure and lead to the same kind of gridlock characterizing the National Unity Government.
  • Success in Afghan elections will be incremental and can best be gauged by a decline in fraud from one election to the next.

For Afghanistan, the upcoming parliamentary elections will be a key test on its war-ravaged path to democracy. On Oct. 20, the South Asian country will elect members for most of the seats in the lower house of parliament. The polls were originally scheduled for 2015 but have been repeatedly delayed due to the inability of the National Unity Government between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to implement key electoral reforms. Because of this failure and other infighting, these elections and their aftermath will probably complicate the presidential elections set for April 2019. It is almost certain that candidates will contest the outcomes, and allegations of fraud will follow, all while the country remains at war....

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