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Afghanistan - 2004 - General Comments on Elections

Voters in line outside of a polling station election in Afghanistan.
Voters in line outside of a polling station election in Afghanistan.

Abdullah Ahmadzai and Grant Kippen discuss a number of the challenges that faced democracy and elections in Afghanistan. They touch on such issues as the different expectations that Afghans and the international community had towards elections and democracy; how the choice of electoral system impeded the development of a more inclusive and representative political culture; and, key events over the past 20 years that impacted elections and democracy strengthening. The discussion concludes by examining the question of whether there is a forward path for democracy within the country. 

Abdullah Ahmadzai worked in different capacities at JEMB and later at the IEC between 2004 and 2006. He started his election career as Kuchies Liaison Officer in 2004 followed by various roles such as Area Manager, Head of Field Operations, Chief of Operations, and Deputy CEO of the IEC. His last engagement with the IEC was in 2010 when he served as the Chief Electoral Officer overseeing the parliamentary elections of Afghanistan. He currently works as The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative for Afghanistan. 

Grant Kippen was the Chief Electoral Advisor for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2018-2021. He was also Chairman of the 2009 and 2005 Electoral Complaints Commissions, and from 2003-2004 was Senior Resident Director for the National Democratic Institute in Afghanistan. 

In the recordings above, you can hear Grant, as Chief Electoral Advisor for the United Nations, and Abdullah, as a senior advisor for the JEMB, discuss their experiences in the election in Afghanistan.

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