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The Second Round of Election
Following its strategic goal of women political participation Afghan Women’s Network has once again actively played an active role in the election of June (2014) promoting democratic process and encouraging women’s participation in elections.
AWN efforts included mobilization and raising awareness rising among women in second round of election. On 4June, 2014, AWN launched Our Vote our Destiny campaign which included radio TV spots, billboards messages and community dialogues in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. During the Election Day we, had 1000 observers in 28 provinces of Afghanistan. The observers continuously reported back to IEC on noticeable situations including shortage of ballot papers in response of which IEC have sent paper to 64 polling stations instantly.
Most importantly AWN was able to get endorsement of two prime candidates on Women Six-Point Petition, which reflected women concerns and needs in six sectors. The Petition was based on consultations with Afghan Women groups and activists as part of Women Vision 2024 drafting process. The petition, which was proposed and endorsed by 117 women-led and women-focused organization, women groups and thousand of members for safeguard of achievements of the past decade and promotion of women rights in the upcoming government. The candidates agreed on the implementation of the existing plans, policies and laws that included EVAW law, National Action Plan for Women (NAPWA) and other commitments that Afghanistan has agreed in London, Kabul, Bonn and Tokyo Conferences.
AWN acknowledges and promotes women voters’ role in promotion of democracy and voting power in the future direction of country politics and we are proud to be part of the efforts that has increased women participation, despite of all odds. As per Election Commission (IEC), where more than 7 million Afghan voted in the second round, that approximately included 37- 38% women.
AWN appreciates and acknowledges the role of Afghan security forces for providing good security where Afghan women and men could vote in relatively safer environment through out the country for the second time.
The highlight of Afghan Women’s Network, observer’s main finding are stated below:
1. Participation in the election second round was noticeable good; particularly women’s participation was reported well. It was reported that some of the women voted in second round where they did not cast their vote in first round of election. In Hussain- Khail school of Bagrami District a number of women’s were asked if they participated in the first round of the elections. They said no, when they were asked the reason they replied that the huge participation of women in the first round in elsewhere encouraged our husbands to let us to participate in this round. However there have been low turnout in few polling station of Pakitika, Wardak , Kunar Kesham Badakhshan due to security, absence of female registrar and changing the polling booth respectively.
2. Generally Country’s security forces has done good job like first round of election, despite of security threats and challenges (rocket attacks, planting and explosion of landmines, and crossfire) that caused the closure of a number of voting centers generally security remained good without major impact on women and men participation
3. Technical problems such as shortage of ballot papers in provinces such as Faryab Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Herat, Nengarhar, Balkh and several other provinces were also a similar problem like first round, which caused public outrage, and demonstration in a number of voting centers. The problem was however addressed in 333 voting centers in those 28 provinces.
4. Some of the voting centers opened later than the official hours.
5. Casualties of six women of the commission staff were reported while dispatching ballots papers to the centers of Aybak (Samangan province) as a result of planted mine.
6. Voting center closure before official time at some sites, like districts of Alasi (Kapisa), Tagab (Kapisa) and SaidAbad (Wardak) and several other districts.