Sixty-Nine Afghan Women Elected to Parliament
Last Wednesday, Afghan officials announced the final results for the parliamentary election held on September 18. Women won 69 of the 249 open seats or 28 percent in the lower house. Women won more than the 25 percent of lower house seats set aside for them by the constitution. A record number of women ran for Parliament in this election, with 400 women of 2,500 total candidates competing for seats in the lower house, Wolesi Jirga.
Women candidates in particular faced threats, violence, and intimidation from insurgents during this parliamentary election, which was the fourth election since the Taliban's fall. The Independent Election Commission deemed nearly one quarter of the ballots invalid and received nearly 5,000 complaints about election irregularities.
Nevertheless, Fazel Ahmad Manawi, Chairman of the Independent Election Commission, clarified, "With all the shortcomings, it was a major success for us, the Afghan government, people of Afghanistan and our international friends."
Media Resources: Independent Election Commission Press Statement 11/25/10; NPR 11/25/10; Human Rights Watch 9/9/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/20/10