Afghan voter registration extended amid violence

Afghan voter registration extended amid violence

KABUL – Agence France-Presse
Afghan voter registration extended amid violence

A deadline for Afghans to register to vote in the Oct. 20 legislative elections has been extended, officials said on May 11, as figures show hundreds of civilians have already been killed or wounded in poll-related violence.

Enrolment for the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections began on April 14 and was originally scheduled to finish in mid-June. By May 10, just over 1.5 million adults had signed up to vote, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) told AFP - a fraction of the 14 million it had hoped to register during the two-month process.

“The election commission of Afghanistan has extended the voting registration process for one month,” the IEC said in a statement, without explaining the reason for the decision.

There are fears that a low turnout could erode the credibility of the elections, which are seen as a test run for next year’s presidential poll.

The vote was supposed to be held in 2015 but has been repeatedly pushed back due to security fears.

The decision came as U.N. figures released on May 10 showed 86 civilians had been killed and 185 wounded in 23 election-related security incidents since registration began.

Most of the casualties happened on April 22 when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration center in Kabul, killing 60, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.