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S.Res. 151 (113th): A resolution urging the Government of Afghanistan to ensure transparent and credible presidential and provincial elections in April 2014 by adhering to internationally accepted democratic standards, establishing a transparent electoral process, and ensuring security for voters and candidates.

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 25, 2013 (Reported by Senate Committee).


III

Calendar No. 94

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. RES. 151

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 21, 2013

(for himself, Mr. McCain, Mr. Menendez, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Kirk, Mr. Donnelly, and Mr. Coons) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

June 25, 2013

Reported by , with an amendment and an amendment to the preamble

Strike out all after the resolving clause and insert the part printed in italic

Strike the preamble and insert the part printed in italic

RESOLUTION

Urging the Government of Afghanistan to ensure transparent and credible presidential and provincial elections in April 2014 by adhering to internationally accepted democratic standards, establishing a transparent electoral process, and ensuring security for voters and candidates.

Whereas Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission has affirmed that Afghanistan will hold presidential and provincial elections in April 2014 and parliamentary elections in 2015;

Whereas Afghanistan's current electoral process was established in 2004 by the Constitution of Afghanistan;

Whereas the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework conditions some international assistance to Afghanistan on the holding of credible, inclusive, and transparent elections in 2014 and 2015, among other measures to improve governance;

Whereas Afghanistan lacks a comprehensive and accurate voter registry, and previous voter registration drives have resulted in duplicate or fraudulent registrations, according to a report by the National Democratic Institute;

Whereas security concerns and voter intimidation have impeded the ability of people in Afghanistan to cast votes reliably and safely in past elections;

Whereas Afghan women in particular are prevented from meaningful participation in the electoral process due to the security environment, the scarcity of female poll workers, and lack of awareness of women’s political rights and opportunities, according to the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan;

Whereas Afghanistan’s 2009 presidential election was characterized by inadequate security for voters and candidates, low voter turnout, and widespread fraud, according to the National Democratic Institute;

Whereas Afghan officials, including President Karzai and Attorney General Mohammad Ishaq Aloko, disputed the results of Afghanistan’s 2010 parliamentary elections and established a Special Election Tribunal to investigate allegations of fraud;

Whereas, following the 2010 parliamentary elections, Democracy International’s Afghanistan Election Observation Mission concluded that comprehensive electoral reform is necessary to ensure a free, fair, and credible election process in 2014;

Whereas the Honorable Hamid Karzai is the first democratically elected president of modern Afghanistan and has served two terms in that position;

Whereas the Constitution of Afghanistan states, “No one can be elected as president for more than two terms.”;

Whereas President Karzai stated on January 11, 2013, alongside President Barack Obama, “The greatest of my achievements […] will be a proper, well-organized, interference-free election in which the Afghan people can elect their next president.”;

Whereas, on several occasions since the late 1970s, civil war has broken out in Afghanistan over the legitimacy of the Afghan government;

Whereas United States taxpayers have invested more than $89,500,000,000 in reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan since October 2001, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR);

Whereas a democratically elected and legitimate government that reflects the will of the Afghan people is in the vital security interests of Afghanistan, the United States, its partners in the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and Afghanistan’s neighbors; and

Whereas the most critical milestone for Afghanistan’s future stability is a peaceful and credible transition of power through presidential elections in 2014: Now, therefore, be it

Whereas Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission has affirmed that Afghanistan will hold presidential and provincial elections in April 2014 and parliamentary elections in 2015;

Whereas Afghanistan's current electoral process was established in 2004 by the Constitution of Afghanistan;

Whereas the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework conditions some international assistance to Afghanistan on the holding of credible, inclusive, and transparent elections in 2014 and 2015, among other measures to improve governance;

Whereas Afghanistan lacks a comprehensive and accurate voter registry, and previous voter registration drives have resulted in duplicate or fraudulent registrations, according to a report by the National Democratic Institute;

Whereas security concerns and voter intimidation have impeded the ability of people in Afghanistan to cast votes reliably and safely in past elections;

Whereas Afghan women in particular are prevented from meaningful participation in the electoral process due to the security environment, the scarcity of female poll workers, and lack of awareness of women’s political rights and opportunities, according to the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan;

Whereas Afghanistan’s 2009 presidential election was characterized by inadequate security for voters and candidates, low voter turnout, and widespread fraud, according to the National Democratic Institute;

Whereas Afghan officials disputed the results of Afghanistan’s 2010 parliamentary elections and established a Special Election Tribunal to investigate allegations of fraud;

Whereas, following the 2010 parliamentary elections, Democracy International’s Afghanistan Election Observation Mission concluded that comprehensive electoral reform is necessary to ensure a free, fair, and credible election process in 2014;

Whereas the current president of Afghanistan is serving a second elective term and the Constitution of Afghanistan states, “No one can be elected as president for more than two terms.”;

Whereas the current president of Afghanistan has committed to not seeking another term in office;

Whereas, on several occasions since the late 1970s, civil war has broken out in Afghanistan over the legitimacy of the Afghan government;

Whereas United States taxpayers have invested more than $89,500,000,000 in reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan since October 2001, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR);

Whereas a democratically-elected and legitimate government that reflects the will of the Afghan people is in the vital security interests of Afghanistan, the United States, its partners in the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and Afghanistan’s neighbors; and

Whereas one of the most critical milestones for Afghanistan’s future stability is a peaceful and credible transition of power through presidential elections in 2014: Now, therefore, be it

That the Senate—

(1)

affirms that the electoral process in Afghanistan should be determined and led by Afghan actors, with support from the international community, and should not be subject to internal and external interference;

(2)

expresses its strong support for credible, inclusive, and transparent presidential and provincial elections in April 2014;

(3)

urges the Government of Afghanistan to conduct the elections in full accordance with the Constitution of Afghanistan, to include maintaining the quota for women’s parliamentary participation;

(4)

honors the sacrifice of United States, coalition, and Afghan servicemembers who have been killed or injured since October 2001 in defense of the democratic rights of the Afghan people;

(5)

recognizes the substantial investment made by the United States taxpayers in support of stability and democracy in Afghanistan;

(6)

recognizes the contributions made by the government of President Hamid Karzai to the democratic progress of Afghanistan, including statements by President Karzai committing to hold presidential elections in 2014 and not seek a third term;

(7)

recognizes that transparent and credible elections will safeguard the legitimacy of the next Afghan government and will help prevent future violence by groups that may be ready to contest a process perceived as rigged or dishonest;

(8)

recognizes that a democratically elected and legitimate government is as important to ensuring the long-term stability of Afghanistan as the successful training and fielding of the Afghan National Security Forces;

(9)

urges the Government of Afghanistan to recognize the independence and impartiality of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and an elections complaints mechanism with clear jurisdiction over the final results, and urges all parties not to interfere with their deliberations;

(10)

urges the Parliament of Afghanistan to pass legislation that will establish a consultative and inclusive process for appointing elections commissioners and allowing election disputes to be resolved transparently and fairly;

(11)

urges the IEC to adopt measures to better mitigate fraud, include marginalized groups, and improve electoral transparency of the polling and counting process and communicate these measures clearly and consistently to the people of Afghanistan;

(12)

urges the Government of Afghanistan to support a credible and effective electoral complaints mechanism whereby its members are perceived as impartial, it is given the ultimate authority on deciding whether a ballot or candidate is disqualified, and it has the time and resources to do its work;

(13)

urges close and continuing communication between the IEC and the Afghan National Security Forces to identify and provide security for vulnerable areas of the country during the election period;

(14)

urges the Afghan National Security Forces to make every necessary effort to ensure the safety of voters and candidates;

(15)

expresses its support for the full participation of Afghan civil society in the election process; and

(16)

urges the Secretary of State to condition financial, logistical, and political support for Afghanistan's 2014 elections based on the implementation of reforms in Afghanistan including—

(A)

increased efforts to encourage women’s participation in the electoral process, including provisions to ensure their full access to and security at polling stations;

(B)

the implementation of measures to prevent fraudulent registration and manipulation of the voting or counting processes, including—

(i)

establishment of processes to better control ballots;

(ii)

vetting of and training for election officials; and

(iii)

full accreditation of and access for international and domestic election observers; and

(C)

prompt passage of legislation through the Parliament of Afghanistan that codifies the authorities and independence of the IEC and an independent and impartial election complaints mechanism.

That the Senate

(1)

affirms that the electoral process in Afghanistan should be determined and led by Afghan actors, with support from the international community, and should not be subject to internal or external interference;

(2)

expresses its strong support for credible, inclusive, and transparent presidential and provincial elections in April 2014;

(3)

urges the Government of Afghanistan to conduct the elections in full accordance with the Constitution of Afghanistan, to include maintaining the constitutionally-mandated allocation of seats for women’s parliamentary participation;

(4)

honors the sacrifice of United States, coalition, and Afghan service members who have been killed or injured since October 2001 in defense of the democratic rights of the Afghan people;

(5)

recognizes the substantial investment made by the United States taxpayers in support of stability, democracy, and the rule of law in Afghanistan, including efforts to end public corruption;

(6)

recognizes the commitment of the Government of Afghanistan to hold presidential elections in 2014 and the current president's commitment not to seek a third term;

(7)

recognizes that transparent and credible elections will help safeguard the legitimacy of the next Afghan government and will help prevent future violence by groups that may be ready to contest a process perceived as rigged or dishonest;

(8)

recognizes that a democratically-elected and legitimate government is important to ensuring the long term stability of Afghanistan, as is the successful training and fielding of the Afghan National Security Forces;

(9)

urges the Government of Afghanistan to respect and support the independence and impartiality of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the need for an independent and impartial elections complaints mechanism with clear jurisdiction over the final results, and urges all parties not to interfere with their deliberations;

(10)

urges the Parliament of Afghanistan to pass legislation that will establish a consultative and inclusive process for appointing elections commissioners and allowing election disputes to be resolved transparently and fairly;

(11)

urges the IEC to adopt measures to better mitigate fraud, include marginalized groups, and improve electoral transparency of the polling and counting process and communicate these measures clearly and consistently to the people of Afghanistan;

(12)

urges the Government of Afghanistan to support a credible and effective electoral complaints mechanism whereby its members are perceived as impartial, it is given the ultimate authority on deciding whether a ballot or candidate is disqualified, and it has the time and resources to do its work;

(13)

urges close and continuing communication between the IEC and the Afghan National Security Forces to identify and provide security for vulnerable areas of the country during the election period;

(14)

urges the Afghan National Security Forces to make every necessary effort to ensure the safety of voters and candidates;

(15)

expresses its support for the full participation of Afghan civil society in the election process;

(16)

urges the President of the United States to ensure that all United States Government efforts in Afghanistan are well-coordinated and are fully consistent with the American taxpayers longstanding commitment to stability, democracy, and the rule of law in Afghanistan, including efforts to end public corruption; and

(17)

urges the Secretary of State to condition financial, logistical, and political support for Afghanistan's 2014 elections based on the implementation of reforms in Afghanistan including—

(A)

increased efforts to encourage women’s participation in the electoral process, including provisions to ensure their full access to and security at polling stations;

(B)

the implementation of measures to prevent fraudulent registration and manipulation of the voting or counting processes, including—

(i)

establishment of processes to better control ballots;

(ii)

vetting of and training for election officials; and

(iii)

full accreditation of and access for international and domestic election observers; and

(C)

prompt passage of legislation through the Parliament of Afghanistan that codifies the authorities and independence of the IEC and an independent and impartial election complaints mechanism.

June 25, 2013

Reported with an amendment and an amendment to the preamble