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Polls historic opportunity for Afghans: NATO

15 November, 2012

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KABUL: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on Monday welcomed the Independent Election Commission’s announcement of the date for the upcoming presidential and provincial council elections.

Set for April 5, 2014, the elections present Afghanistan with an historic opportunity, Dominic Medley, a spokesman for NATO’s senior civilian representative, told a news conference in Kabul.

Medley recalled NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had hailed Afghan authorities’ commitment to inclusive, transparent and credible elections.

"Allies and ISAF partners look forward to a democratic process, in accordance with the constitution, which will contribute to stability, security and prosperity," he said.

At the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, alliance leaders agreed to withdraw their combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and to gradually hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces.

As part of the ongoing transition process, Medley said, more than 75 percent of Afghanistan’s population is living in areas where Afghan forces are in charge of security. Medley parried a question about the Afghan government’s opposition to the inclusion of foreigners in the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).

"What I said this morning is the statement from the NATO secretary general, so that’s what the NATO position is on the elections," he said. "I don’t have a comment concerning the presence of foreigners in or out of the ECC. That is a matter for the IEC, the ECC, and the relevant constitutional institutions in Afghanistan."

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