Ahead of the second round in Afghanistan’s Presidential elections, the top United Nations official in the country today reaffirmed the world body’s commitment for the coming years and urged all Afghans to take part in the vote to help shape their country’s future.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, made the comments while on a visit to the western province of Herat, the latest in a series of visits carried out by the envoy and his deputies with the aim of getting first-hand impressions of how different provinces are preparing for the country's second round run-off in its Presidential elections, set to take place on 14 June, as well as discussing other matters, such as security, development and UN assistance.
The envoy’s meetings included one with the Provincial Governor, Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi.
“We discussed our future cooperation and partnership – between the United Nations and the province, the authorities and the people of the province – for many years into the future. And given the fact that by the end of 2016, all the international forces will leave the country, and with that, perhaps we will see less exposure of the international community here, I wanted to deliver one message: the United Nations is here to stay, and we would like to use this as an opportunity to be of even more support and assistance to the people of Afghanistan for the years to come,” Mr. Kubiš said in a later press encounter.
“This brought us back to the basics – for this, we need good, quality elections. We need a new government that will come based on the votes of the people and that will represent the majority of the people in the country,” he added. “Therefore, it is important to conduct the run-off in the best possible way and in the most secure environment – in such a way that will give a chance to the majority of the people to come and vote. And I would like to encourage people to indeed use this opportunity to shape the future of the country and come and vote in the run-off of the Presidential elections.”
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which Mr. Kubiš heads, has previously noted that that the process leading up to the elections represented an improvement over past votes. For the first time, the elections were conducted based on laws passed by the National Assembly rather than Presidential decree. They were, for the first time, fully Afghan-managed by the two independent electoral institutions, constituted on the basis of a formal consultative process set out in the new legislation.
The UN Mission has also acknowledged the efforts made by the IEC and IECC to increase transparency in polling, the counting of votes and the handling of complaints.