Afghanistan registers candidates for long-delayed elections

In this file photo, Afghan women arrive at a voter registration center to register for the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 23, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 May 2018
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Afghanistan registers candidates for long-delayed elections

  • The elections for the national parliament and district councils are due to be held on Oct. 20
  • About 60 people were killed last month when a suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in the capital Kabul

KABUL: Afghanistan launched the registration of candidates for parliamentary and district elections on Saturday, taking another step toward a long-delayed ballot that has been threatened by deadly attacks on voter registration centers.
Gula Jan Badi Sayad, head of the Independent Election Commission, told a news conference registration would be open for the next 12 days. Hundreds of candidates are expected to come forward.
The elections for the national parliament and district councils are due to be held on Oct. 20, more than three years after parliament’s original five-year term ended in 2015.
As well as giving the assembly a legal mandate to sit, they are seen as a dry run for a presidential election expected in 2019.
The elections have been strongly backed by Afghanistan’s international partners, which see them as a key test of democratic legitimacy, but they have faced a series of hurdles including technical problems, worries over voter fraud and major security concerns.
About 60 people were killed last month when a suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in the capital Kabul and there have been a string of smaller incidents elsewhere.
Sayad said on Saturday that some 3.2 million people had registered to vote so far, still well short of the potential electorate of 14 million but exceeding some forecasts that the violence would halt the registration process entirely.


Canadian leaders condemn arson at mosque

Edson mosque
Updated 19 June 2018
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Canadian leaders condemn arson at mosque

OTTAWA: Canadian leaders on Monday condemned a “brazen” act of arson at an Alberta mosque as Muslims around the world celebrated the end of Ramadan.
The mosque in the town of Edson was set ablaze Saturday night, blackening the entrance to the building but otherwise causing no injuries and little damage.
“All of Canada stands together with the community against this brazen act, which is under investigation. Everyone has the right to practice their faith without fear,” Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Twitter.
Surveillance footage showed a person in a dark hoodie carrying a jerrycan fleeing the mosque at about 11 p.m. local time Saturday (0300 GMT Sunday).
The 30-year-old mosque serves as a place of worship for 15 families in Edson, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Edmonton.
Alberta’s social democratic Premier Rachel Notley called the arson an “affront to all Albertans” and she renewed her government’s commitment to “fighting racism in all its forms.”
The province’s Conservative leader Jason Kenney called it “an attack on freedom” while vowing solidarity “with our Muslim neighbors against such acts of hatred.”