Voting and campaigning for a better future

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Kabul office will be publishing a hand-book for the Afghan Parliamentary elections in 2010, to be used as a reference guide by the potential candidates. For this reason, the KAS invited representatives of the Afghan civil society, media, political parties and members of the Afghan Parliament to the three workshops on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of April 2009, for consultations and to ask for the opinions and recommendations of the invited guests for the elections hand-book.

1. Objectives

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Kabul office will be publishing a hand-book for the Afghan Parliamentary elections in 2010, to be used as a reference guide by the potential candidates. For this reason, the KAS invited representatives of the Afghan civil society, media, political parties and members of the Afghan Parliament to the three workshops on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of April 2009, for consultations and to ask for the opinions and recommendations of the invited guests for the elections hand-book. The three Workshops were also aimed at knowing more about the opinions of the invited guests about the role of the Afghan Civil Society in the up-coming Presidential and provincial councils elections to be held on the 20th of August 2009, and the Parliamentary elections in 2010.

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2. Implementation of the Workshops

Majority of the invited guests attended the three days workshops. The three days workshops were moderated by Mr. Thomas Ruttig, Co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN). He was assisted by the KAS Kabul Project Assistant, Mr. Tariq Ayub and the KAS Kabul Programme Director, Mr. Abdul Samad, as well as by Mr. Asgar Abbaszadeh, a Freelance Expert, who regularly makes a contribution to the KAS projects in Kabul, Afghanistan. The workshops were implemented in accordance with the expectations of everyone involved. The office guards, the kitchen staff and the driver all performed well from the early beginning of the workshops, during the workshops and the follow on.

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3. Discussions in the Workshops

The majority of the invited guests for the first workshop on the 20th of April 2009, were representatives of the political parties, who all made a lively and constructive contribution to the discussions about the KAS elections hand-book and the role of the Afghan civil society in the future elections of Afghanistan. A number of the invited guests said that the KAS elections hand-book was a good idea by the KAS, however, in the current Afghan context its contents might be difficult to put into practice. The KAS elections hand-book was considered helpful for the political parties candidates; however, political party representative said that the current elections system (SNTV) was against the development of political parties. Political party representatives recommended to the KAS office to include a chapter about the experiences of the past elections held in 2004 (Presidential elections) and in 2005 (Parliamentary elections). The guests also favoured a smaller elections hand-book, which potential candidates can use as a pocket elections guide.

On the role of the Afghan Civil Society in the future elections of Afghanistan, opinions were varied in this group: a number of guests said that Afghanistan had a civil society and it could play a constructive role in the elections. Other guests believed that there was a need for a proper interpretation of the Afghan civil society and a need for the Afghan civil Society to be educated through workshops and seminars about the elections process.

The attendees of the second day's workshop held on the 21st of April 2009, were a varied group. In this workshop, a Minister Advisor to the President, a Head of the Research Centre, MPs and a Senator of the Afghan Parliament participated. While some guests considered the KAS elections hand-book to be a little late for the Presidential and provincial councils elections, however, other guests suggested that the KAS elections hand-book would be helpful for the candidates of the Parliamentary elections in 2010, and it should act as a guide for the potential candidates as well as the Afghan public.

Opinions about the role of the Afghan Civil Society were mixed and as the participants in the first workshop, some of the guests said that it was difficult to say that a viable civil society existed in Afghanistan such as those in the developed countries, therefore, it would be difficult to say that the Afghan Civil Society can play any role in the future elections of Afghanistan. The invited guests in this group also said that there was no role for the Afghan Civil Society in the future Afghan elections, and the Afghan Civil Society should find its own model and place in the Afghan society, and a western model should not be imposed on the Afghans.

The opinions of the guests in the third workshop who represented the Civil Society and the Media were not that different about the elections hand-book and the role of the Afghan Civil Society from the opinions of the first two groups. However, this group also had some recommendations for the international community to help the Afghan Civil Society become stronger, and after becoming stronger, it can play a role in the awareness of the Afghan public. The guests in this group suggested that strong political parties are needed to help the democratic process in Afghanistan. Members of this group said that it would be good to help strengthen youth organizations to play a positive role in the elections process and also strengthen the civil society.

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4. Outcome

The KAS Kabul office organized the three elections workshops for the completion of the KAS elections hand-book to be published for the second round of Parliamentary elections in 2010. This elections hand-book is aimed at for the use of potential candidates and the Afghan public as an election reference guide. The three workshops were held with the representatives of the Afghan civil society, media, parliamentarians and members of the political parties for the reasons to consult the invited guests about the KAS elections hand-book and to ask the invited guests to add their comments for the completion of the KAS elections hand-book. The three workshops were considered to have made a good contribution to the KAS elections hand-book. The opinions and recommendations of the invited guests will be considered and used in the KAS elections hand-book, and the KAS was also pleased to be informed through the invited guests about the status of the Afghan Civil Society.

Authors

Abdul Samad, Dr. Babak Khalatbari

Publication series

Event Reports

published

Afghanistan, April 29, 2009

Voting and campaigning for a better future.