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With the media looking on, President George W. Bush reaches out to shake hands with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan after a joint press availability Monday, May 23, 2005, in the East Room of the White House. White House photo by Paul Morse

Elections in Afghanistan

I've got great faith in the future in Afghanistan. First, I've got great faith in the ability of democracy to provide hope."
President Bush, May 23, 2005

"We have, as of yesterday -- as of the day before yesterday, over 5,000 candidates for the national assembly and for the provincial assemblies. There are women from all the provinces of the country will be coming to the parliament. So the country is moving forward."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, May 23, 2005

"Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists. Afghanistan is a key partner in the global war on terror. Our troops have fought and will continue to fight side-by-side to defeat the few who want to stop the ambitions of the many."
President Bush, May 23, 2005

"The United States has been the country with whose help we have rebuilt our country, are in the process of rebuilding our country. And you have been at the forefront of that effort with us in Afghanistan and in the rest of the world. I'm here today to thank you, Mr. President, once again for your leadership in providing Afghanistan the security, the reconstruction, and the freedoms that the Afghan people have today."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, May 23, 2005

Joint Electoral Management Body

  • On July 26, 2003, the Government of Afghanistan established the Joint Electoral Management Body (“JEMB”), a 13-member independent body (consisting of 9 Afghan and 4 international commissioners), to oversee the electoral process during the transitional period in Afghanistan.

  • The JEMB Secretariat is the executive arm of the JEMB and is responsible for implementation of the electoral operation. The JEMB Secretariat will have 6,000 Afghan and 425 international staff active in 8 regional and 34 provincial offices.

  • Voters

  • More than 10 million Afghans (41% of them women) registered to vote in the October 2004 presidential election.

  • For Afghans who did not register to vote last year, the JEMB conducted voter registration from June 25 through July 21. Over 1.5 million new voter registration cards were issued, 44% were to women voters.

  • To be eligible to vote, a person must be at least 18 years old and a citizen of Afghanistan.

  • Lower House of the National Assembly

  • On September 18, voters will directly elect representatives to the 249-person Lower House (“Wolesi Jirga” or House of People) of the National Assembly. Seat allocations in the Lower House are proportional to the population of the provinces.

  • Afghan citizens over the age of 25 who are registered to vote, have not been convicted of committing a crime against humanity, and who do not have ties to illegal armed militia groups are eligible to run as candidates for the National Assembly.

  • A total of 2,707 candidates (582 women) are registered.

  • Provincial Councils

  • Voters will also elect members of 34 provincial councils, the size of which are determined by the population of the province. Provincial Councils will participate in the development of the provinces and improvement of provincial administration.

  • Afghan citizens who are at least 18 years old, are registered to vote, and have not been convicted of committing a crime against humanity can be nominated as candidates for the Provincial Councils.

  • A total of 3,025 Afghans (279 of them women) have been nominated as candidates for the Provincial Councils.

  • Upper House of the National Assembly

  • Once elected, each Provincial Council will elect one of its members to sit in the Upper House (“Meshrano Jirga” or House of Elders) of the National Assembly.

  • Under the Afghan Constitution, the 102-person Upper House also includes representatives indirectly elected by district councils (34) and representatives appointed by the President (34).

  • District Council elections were originally scheduled to take place at the same time as the Lower House and Provincial Council elections. Since district numbers, boundaries and population figures have yet to be determined, District Council elections will not be held in 2005. The National Assembly, once constituted, will be tasked by the President to resolve the district issues.

  • In order to maintain balance between indirectly elected members and presidential appointees, it is anticipated that President Karzai will appoint only half of his representatives to the Upper House (17) which will sit with 51 members until District Elections have taken place.

  • Representation of Women

  • The Afghan Constitution and Electoral Law guarantee the representation of women in the Lower House and in Provincial Councils.

  • In the Lower House, 68 seats have been reserved for women candidates. Two seats have been set aside for women delegates in each Provincial Council.

  • Polling Stations

  • Polling will take place in 28,157 polling stations in 6,000 locations throughout Afghanistan.

  • Afghans will vote in exclusively male or female polling stations staffed by almost 200,000 polling staff.

  • Election Budget

  • UN and Afghan authorities predict that the total election budget will be about $149 million of which $ million has been received or pledged.

  • The United States is the largest single donor, contributing $50 million to the National Assembly elections.

  • Election security

  • Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police forces, with support from Coalition and NATO/ISAF forces, stand ready toimplement a comprehensive security strategy to ensure that extremist elements do not disrupt the electoral process.

  • Post Election Process

  • After the election, ballots will be collected in provincial counting centers.

  • It is estimated that vote counting may take 3 – 4 weeks. During this period the Electoral Complaints Commission will investigate election-related complaints.

  • Once complaints have been addressed and the counting of ballots has been completed, election results will be announced.

  • September 18, 2005
    President Congratulates Afghan People and Goverment on Successful Parliamentary Elections
    June 15, 2005
    Memorandum for the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense on Afghanistan Freedom Support Act
    May 23, 2005
    President Welcomes Afghan President Karzai to the White House
    May 12, 2005
    President to Welcome President Karzai of Afghanistan to the White House
    March 30, 2005
    Mrs. Bush Highlights Women's Achievements in Afghanistan
    February 3, 2005
    President Discusses Strengthening Social Security in Montana

    More News »   

    October 15, 2004
    Progress in Afghanistan
    March 10, 2004
    U.S.-Afghan Women's Council

    March 29-30, 2005
    Mrs. Bush Visits Afghanistan
    December 7, 2004
    Vice President's Visit to Afghanistan
    Transition in Afghanistan

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