Election Day in Afghanistan
|by Katherine Mullen, Peace Action Education Fund Intern
Concerns over voter intimidation, ballot stuffing and suicide bombings during Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections on Sept. 18 have been the top news items in mainstream media. Election watchdog groups, journalists and politicians have routinely commented on the low turnout of voters and the long road ahead in determining which of the nearly 2,500 candidates will fill 249 parliamentary seats. The Associated Press reported earlier this week that preliminary results are not likely until October, followed by weeks of anti-fraud investigations before winners are announced. What’s missing from many of these mainstream news reports, however, is the perspective of women’s rights organizations in Afghanistan that have a serious stake in the outcome of the election. In a letter to supporters on Sept. 18, Manizha Naderi, executive director of Women for Afghan Women (WAW), wrote:
“People don’t have much hope; they feel the election is rigged and they are
Of the nearly 2,500 candidates running in the election, 386 are women, as reported by The Christian Science Monitor. Twenty-five percent of the seats in parliament are set aside for women, as mandated by the Afghan constitution. According to the Afghanistan Congressional Communications Hub, women’s current parliamentary representation is 27.3 percent.