UN mission supports decision on final list of polling centres for Afghan

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has voiced its full support for the decision of the country’s independent election authorities to reaffirm the final list of polling centres for parliamentary elections later this month.The Independent Election Commission (IEC) confirmed on Sunday that the 18 September vote for members of the Wolesi Jirga, or the lower house of the National Assembly in Afghanistan, will be based on the list of polling stations it published on 18 August.“Implementing the election according to this final, published list of polling centres is essential for the effective conduct and transparency of the elections,” UNAMA said in a press statement issued in Kabul.The mission praised the IEC for the “significant progress” in operational and logistical preparations for the elections, which take place a year after Afghans voted in presidential polls, to ensure there are stronger mechanisms against possible fraud.The statement noted that sensitive materials such as ballot papers have been securely packed and transported to the country’s provinces, and the IEC has also recruited and trained staff to work at polling stations.“We are aware of the efforts of the IEC and the Afghan security forces to establish as many secure polling centres as possible, to ensure that voters are able to vote.“While it is a difficult decision not to open polling centres in certain locations, we agree with the decision of the IEC to protect the security of voters, electoral workers and the secure and effective scrutiny of polling centres and voting procedures, including at all times the sensitive polling materials.”More than 2,500 candidates, including at least 400 women, have filed to run in the election for the 249-member Wolesi Jirga.UNAMA underscored in its statement that the ballot “can and must be an important step in strengthening democratic institutions in Afghanistan and an opportunity for the people of Afghanistan to exercise their democratic rights.” 7 September 2010The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has voiced its full support for the decision of the country’s independent election authorities to reaffirm the final list of polling centres for parliamentary elections later this month.

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