Why vote in 2014? New Chatham House paper


A sample of reasons given during interviews in Kabul and Nangarhar provinces of why Afghans are voting:

  • “I want my vote to counter the fraudulent votes”
  • “To elect a new president”
  • Islamic or moral duty
  • Show the world that Afghanistan is a democracy
  • “We have not other alternatives”
  • Support their favorite candidate
  • Show the strength of youth in their area
  • “We need to promote elections as a vital process
  •  “We should vote to save Afghanistan from its current crisis”
  • Payment or other economic incentives
  • Demonstrate the power of their region, ethnicity, tribe

Of course, not everyone agreed:

  • “I am tired of all our leaders and I am disappointed in their work.  For these reasons I am not voting.”

For a more thorough analysis of why many Afghans are voting despite security concerns and a sense that these elections will be marred by fraud, see this Chatham House report.

Chatham House paper 1

Why Vote in 2014?

Key points:

  • A surprising number of urban Afghans are planning to vote in the elections on 5 April, despite recent attacks on electoral officials, the threat of more general violence, the precedent set for widespread electoral fraud in 2009, suspected backroom deals between elites and rumours of international meddling.
  • Further, an overwhelming majority of those interviewed suggested there was no alternative to elections as a means to transfer power, indicating that international support for the electoral process is welcome and necessary.
  • However, participation is less about an embrace of democratic practice or the policy platforms of different candidates than about wanting a peaceful handover of power and a secure rather than violent future.
  • To this end, reasons for voting are not so much about choosing the kind of government that people want to see established, but instead to ensure that a government of sorts is established. The reasons include religious and/or moral duty; needing to counter fraudulent votes with ‘real’ ones; needing to convince elites that elections are the only means of transferring power from one president to the next; making a stand against Taliban attempts to disrupt the process; and demonstrating the size of the candidates’ support bases.
  • For the Taliban, the elections will involve a show of strength to disrupt the process as far as possible, without going so far as to lose credibility among the members of Afghan society whose support they have won.

 Read more

2 thoughts on “Why vote in 2014? New Chatham House paper

  1. Pingback: Dispelling Myths: Why the BSA is important (and why it isn’t) | Afghan Elections

  2. Pingback: Elections and Security | Afghan Elections

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