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Afghanistan: Elections

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government has made to the UN regarding the involvement of the government of Afghanistan in local state elections in that country. (289492)

Over the past two years, the UK has been working alongside Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the wider donor community to prepare the 2009-10 Afghan elections. This includes preparations for the Provincial Council elections, which will be held at the same time as the presidential elections on 20 August 2009.

The Afghan Government, with the support of the international community, has a vital role to play in both ensuring adequate security for the elections and that the IEC is a functioning body, capable of ensuring effective organisation. The 2009 elections will be the first Afghan-led elections since the 1970s.

UNAMA, through the UNDP, is co-ordinating international support through the ELECT project, to which the UK has given £16.5 million. ELECT aims to build up the capacity of the IEC to run the elections and to create a more cohesive and informed electoral process with as wide participation as possible. We work closely with the UN in Afghanistan and New York on preparations and have frequently played the lead role in raising and resolving issues of concern with the UN, the Afghan Government and international donors.

International funding, both through ELECT and other projects, is supporting media exposure for candidates and civic education for voters, to explain the electoral process and to encourage them to vote. We are following the UN and IEC preparations closely, holding UNDP to account against the project’s agreed outputs and pressing for additional action where necessary.

More details on the ELECT project can be found at:

http://www.undp.org.af/WhoWeAre/UNDPinAfghanistan/Projects/dcse/prj_elect.htm