KABUL: Afghanistan’s legislative elections will be held on October 20, officials said on Sunday, following three years of delays as the war-torn country grapples with a resurgent Taliban and political instability.
The polls were originally set to be held in 2015 following presidential elections the previous year, but were repeatedly pushed back due to security fears and logistical issues within the fragile unity government.
If held, candidates will contest the 249 seats in the National Assembly for five-year terms. The country will also hold regional elections in tandem in some 400 districts across Afghanistan — several of which are outside of Kabul’s control.
“Holding elections is not an easy job in Afghanistan,” said Abdul Badi Sayad, Afghanistan’s election commission chief, adding that voters will be able to apply for registration cards in mid-April before candidates formally declare.
The polls come just months ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for April 2019.
However, western diplomats continue to express doubt over the government’s ability to oversee the project amid heightened security threats countrywide.
Following the announcement, the United Nations lauded the commission’s move, but called for the inclusion of all Afghans in the process.