Briefing Paper

Noah Coburn
Looking Beyond 2014: Elections in Afghanistan’s Evolving Political Context - See more at: by toos/iStock.

Summary points:

  • With the continued drawdown of international troops and a presidential election, 2014 will be a crucial year for Afghanistan. However, as the elections approach, there is a need to make policy and programmatic decisions aimed at the longer-term promotion of democracy and good governance in the country.
  • While selecting a successor to President Hamid Karzai is paramount in the minds of many Afghans and international observers, it is important to maintain focus on other significant issues closely tied to the electoral process.
  • These include the wider historical and regional context of these elections and the overall democratization process; the importance of the simultaneous provincial council elections and potential repercussions on future rounds of voting, particularly in 2015; the impact on younger voters as the country continues to undergo deep demographic shifts; and the potential for both local and national-level upheaval as political actors reposition themselves and restructure patronage networks in response to the outcomes of the elections.
  • The potential for the international community to play a continuing role in supporting the promotion of democracy in Afghanistan also remains significant.