Long-delayed Afghan parliamentary and district council elections should be possible this year despite major security and logistical challenges, Afghan election authorities said on Sunday as they confirmed Oct. 20 as the date of the vote.
President Ashraf Ghani, his credibility on the line with both Afghan voters and increasingly impatient international partners, had vowed to hold the elections before presidential elections next year.
But the elections, now three years late, have been repeatedly postponed and have been again pushed from a July date announced last year as political disputes and wrangling over voter registration have blocked progress.
“Today the Independent Election Commission officially announces to the people of Afghanistan that the election will be held on (Oct. 20),” IEC Chairman Gula Jan Abdul Badi Sayad told a news conference.
International partners, desperate for signs of progress 17 years after the ousting of the Taliban, have exerted heavy pressure on the Kabul government and political groups to ensure the success of the elections.
But the vote, seen as a dry run before the even more important presidential election next year, has faced repeated delays and questions over the commitment of the Afghan political class to its success.