Electoral controversy; Factor undermining democracy in Afghanistan
My short article was published in 8 Sobh newspaper (8 am) on May 11, 2020.
The translation of the article from Dari to English is as follows:
May 11, 2020
Democratic processes such as elections in any country are the first steps or indicators of the first wave of democracy. Democracy has undergone many changes and waves since its design in theory and practice. According to its popular definition and perception, the most basic concepts and forms of democracy are the appointments of government officials by the people directly, i.e., through elections or indirect means. Of course, this is a very superficial and rudimentary conception of democracy, which in the eyes of the people today is the concept of democracy in its basic form. Leading democracies such as France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are defining a new form of democracy (the fourth wave). In this redefinition or new wave of democracy, freedom goes beyond the concept of classical freedoms (freedoms enshrined in human rights charters) such as freedom of expression or movement, and the boundaries of freedom are widened to the point where religious, social, cultural or moral taboos are broken. Taboos express the new meaning of this wave of freedom. In leading democracies, elections or the rule of law are now accepted by parliament as simple. They focus on where to break the religious, social, cultural, or moral taboos. Let go of the new freedom and say that this is the new kind of democracy and freedom.
Afghanistan, as a country that has experienced all kinds of socio-political systems such as monarchy, socialism, moderate Islam, extremist Islam and now a democracy, has been the victim of copycat experiments to create a logical combination of a political system model with indigenous assets. Democracy Many political theorists believe that despite all the problems, there is a more perfect order than other forms of a socio-political order that can better respond to the people in the justice and social welfare field.
In Afghanistan, people tired of the monotony and divisive sectarianism sought a democratic system that embraced democracy better than any other. Of course, it should not be forgotten that this system (democracy) is an imported system rather than a system that the people themselves have liked and accepted because, with the presence of the international community in Afghanistan after 9/11, the world’s top powers for Afghanistan system, government And they determined the law and passed it through the Loya Jirga, which at that time, with its features and composition, which never represented the valid will of the whole nation. However, the same imported democracy was injected into Afghan society at least 18 years old. People are now relatively familiar with some of its basic concepts, and its shortcomings are becoming more and more apparent.
One of the significant shortcomings that have dealt a fatal and dangerous blow to Afghanistan’s semi-inclusive democracy is the conduct of election teams after the election process. Today, in the form of paradoxical elections, which should be a factor in strengthening and shaping the concept of democracy in a society, in Afghanistan, the unprofessional and clumsy behavior of some politicians and electoral factions, has become a factor in weakening democracy. Let’s look at the previous two or three presidential elections. We find that one of the two powerful factions in this election did not tolerate the culture of losing and has resorted to any attempt to gain points from the elections, which created a negative mentality in the people. It becomes a democracy. How can people accept its other symbols when they see that the first symbol of a system or model of the socio-political system is the cause of crisis and backwardness? In the elections of the previous period and this period (especially this period), all groups, with a kind of ridicule and disbelief in the basic concepts of democracy, created illegal actions to create a minimum of personal privilege in the government by creating confusion and populist movements. Apart from the quality of the elections and the genuine will of the people, taking steps such as violent demonstrations, announcing a parallel government, introducing self-proclaimed governors, dragging other governments into internal affairs, etc. in the name of defending rights and litigation, is slowly turning into a hostile culture. Has become politically opposed to the laws of democracy, so much so that in the recent presidential election, more than 80% of the electoral teams merely aimed at having the name of the electoral team after the election in the name of fraud and election problems by creating media and populist noise. They were made to gain the minimum privilege of an individual such as a ministry, embassy, directorate, or province. In the previous election (the factors that led to the formation of a national unity government), they realized that populist actions and media hype caused the rival team to score points, even if it won. This negative political culture may make the life of democracy much shorter than previously thought.
I believe that if today the right question is asked to various groups of people whether democracy is beneficial for Afghanistan or not, most people will answer in the negative. The culprits are unprofessional politicians who do not believe in democracy. For example, the meager turnout in the recent presidential election is the reason for this disbelief and tiredness of the election.
At this stage, I think that the Afghan people and politicians must have the courage to reform the structures and laws of democracy in society and redefine them according to the traditional and sociological contexts of the Afghan indigenous people to make democracy more indigenous and practical. Of course, the question is whether we should change the form and symbol of the existing democracy and adapt it to the Afghan society, or change, educate and adapt the people and the community to democracy? In response, I think changing people is a complex and time-consuming task, but changing some concepts and redefining them seems more possible and can be achieved with short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans.