20 November 2013 The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed the announcement today of the final list of candidates for next year’s presidential and provincial council elections.
“The completion of the candidate nomination period marks another important step for the Afghan people in the process of electing the country’s next leader and provincial councils,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš.
The list, announced by the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), contains 11 presidential candidates and 2,713 provincial council candidates, with the latter including 308 women.
“The candidates and their supporters bear the responsibility of fully upholding Afghan electoral laws and other relevant electoral provisions, as well as international standards for peaceful, transparent, credible, inclusive and fair elections,” said Mr. Kubiš.
The Special Representative also urged the Afghan electoral and state bodies, and the candidates and their teams, to take all measures to ensure the election process and their conduct are “marked by the highest degree of integrity, free from internal and external interference and fraud – all of which are so important for the acceptance and legitimacy of the outcome of the elections.”
The UN has repeatedly stressed that the elections, scheduled for 5 April 2014, must be free and fair, and enjoy wide participation. The polls are seen as a vital step in the ongoing transition in Afghanistan, which next year will also see the withdrawal of the majority of allied international military forces, with national forces assuming full responsibility for security throughout the country.
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