Afghan poll candidates given July 1 deadline

Agence France Presse

Kabul, June 5:

Afghanistan’s electoral commission today set a July 1 deadline for candidates in the country’s first post-Taliban parliamentary election to sever their links with armed militias. Authorities would “provide those candidates, who are willing to completely disarm and sever links with non-official military forces of armed groups, the necessary weapons collection facilities to do so before a final deadline of July 1,” said Sultan Baheen, spokes-man for the UN-backed Joint Electoral Management Body. Afghanistan’s electoral law prohibits any candidate with links to armed militias from standing for parliament or provincial councils. However, establishing exactly which candidates command armed men will be difficult. Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission has only three weeks to look over objections from the public on the eligibility of candidates. Afghan citizens aged 18 can stand for parliament while the age limit for provincial councils polls is 25 years. The Electoral Complaints Commission has 37 investigators nationwide to look into complaints. Candidates for September 18 vote are also barred from standing if they hold government office. Complaints can be filed anonymously throu-gh drop boxes or by email.