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Coordination Meeting On Women Effective Participation In The Electoral Process

On 14 April IEC Gender Unit held a coordination meeting on women effective participation in the electoral process, at the Kabul Star Hotel. IEC and ECC Chairs, Ministry of Women's Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the Independent Human Rights Commission were invited and attended the meeting. Women's Network, the First Lady's Office, Electoral Observers groups as well as other national organization and institutions dealing with women’s affairs also attended the meeting. 

IEC Chair, Mrs. Hawa Alam Nuristani welcomes participants stressing the purpose of the meeting, namely to promote women's participation also considering that ‘women have always had an historical role in conflict resolution and are a propellent of constructivism and society prosperity. They weren’t involved in the destruction of the country, but they are a key factor in its reconstruction’. During her speech, IEC Chair also presented the work of the Commission since the appointment of its new Commissioners. Within two months, IEC reviewed the operational plan and the electoral budget that was submitted to the Afghan government, signed an MoU with the Administrative Reform Commission, launched the recruitment process advertising several positions and worked on a plan for the use of biometrics in voter regsitration. During this period, IEC also held consultative meetings with political parties and electoral stakeholders.

ECC Chair, Mrs. Zohra Bayan Shinwari, provided information on WJ results of remaining provinces while other speakers, including Mrs. Spozhmai Wardak, Deputy Minister of Women's Affairs, General Hekmat Shahi, Head of the Ministry of Interior Gender section, Mrs. Nayela Salih, Head of Gender Commission of the Office of Administrative Reform and Civil Service, Mrs. Zohra Youssef, Advisor to First Lady and Mrs. Maryam Soltani of FIFA Office provided information on their activities and plans for upcoming elections and stated the cooperation with the Commission.

In conclusion of the meeting, Mrs. Rahima Zarifi, IEC Commissioner thanked all participants for their contribution and the media for their participation and has ensured that comments and suggestions expressed would be included in IEC plans.

Women and Elections

Election is universalized and public phenomenon, which properly and successfully holding it requires participation of all eligible citizens, without considering ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. Election is the best accepted way to select government officials within institutions which prevents violence and coercion. Through elections, not only individuals can peacefully take political power; but also, people’s free, fair and public vote gives legitimacy to their power, therefore, no one will have the right to oppose the legitimacy of their power without legal reasons. On the other hand, by participating in election, people directly and indirectly participate in determining their own government and destiny. 

Therefore, participating all races of society, including men and women, political parties and ethnic groups in elections is necessary, not only for those who run as candidates, but also in determining the fate of society. By participating in elections, people collaborate in process of appointing government officials and members of parliament, which is the most important matter for a country. 

Afghan women made up half of the society and have the right to participate in political and social affairs related to fate of the  country and people. For this reason, Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has included some articles in its applicable laws, particularly in the constitution. In accordance to these articles, women have special rights to participate in political and social processes, especially elections.