Elections in Afghanistan:
statement by Vygaudas USACKAS, EU special representative in Afghanistan
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council
End production: 15/09/2010 First transmission: 15/09/2010
Statement by Vygaudas USACKAS, EU special representative in Afghanistan
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior, European Council
||Cutaways, Vygaudas USACKAS, EU special representative in Afghanistan (2 shots)
||Soundbite, Vygaudas USACKAS, EU special representative in Afghanistan (In English): September the 18th is a very important date for the history of Afghanistan because elections for the Parliament will take place. It's important to acknowledge that these will be the second parliamentary elections since 2001. It's the first elections that are led by and organized by Afghans themselves, with a very light footprint of the international community and the EU. Except the fact that we have been supporting financially in the course of 2 years, both the 1st and the 2nd elections the Eu has contributed with 35 million euros. We've also been supporting the promotion and the words of female during the election campaign. High representative Catherine Ashton has discussed during her visit to Kabul, when she and Hillary Clinton have met with leaders of female organizations, when they have expressed their concerns that their voices were not being heard due to lack of private funding. So, we've stepped in and we have contributed with approximately 530.000 euros in buying some air time on TV and radio and giving access to female candidates to convey their messages in the election platform. All in all, it's very encouraging to see that the number of female candidates has increased by 25%, almost 400 women are running for the parliament, which is an encouraging sign considering the situation of women. Having said that, one has to acknowledge that we can't expect perfect elections in Afghanistan, or elections like in EU countries. We have to recognize that Afghanistan has gone through 30 years of war, high illiteracy level of 80%, underdeveloped political party system. It's going to be yet another educational process of participative democracy in Afghanistan. Which I hope we can use as a momentum to strengthen the democratic institutions in Afghanistan. That's why we' ll have EU's elections assessment team that will provide a report on lessons learned and recommendations on how the electoral reform should proceed, so as to make future elections more credible, inclusive and transparent.