Afghans’ lack of faith in the transparency of the electoral process likely reflects the lingering after effects of the controversy surrounding the country’s last election, which was marred by fraud allegations and low voter turnout. Afghans’ confidence in elections ranks among the lowest in South Asia, a region with already low confidence in elections relative to other parts of the world.
In addition to Afghans’ relatively low level of confidence in their electoral process, the sudden withdrawal from the race by several prominent leaders and Taliban attacks threaten the success of Saturday’s election. An election that is accepted by all major contestants and relatively free of widespread violence and fraud would be an important step forward for Afghanistan, with international troops set to withdraw later this year.
While Afghans’ confidence in civilian mechanisms for democracy such as elections has flagged, confidence in the country’s military has gradually risen over the past several years.