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IRI to Monitor Afghanistan Elections

September 13, 2005

Washington, DC – IRI today announced it will monitor the September 18, 2005, Afghanistan parliamentary and provincial council elections.  Delegates will travel to Afghanistan to monitor voting and ballot counting in and around Kabul.  Following the voting, IRI will issue a statement on the findings of the delegation.  This is the second international election observation delegation IRI has sent to Afghanistan.  IRI also monitored the October 2004 presidential election.

"Independent monitoring is critical to building confidence in election results, and IRI is honored to be part of Afghanistan's second-ever nationwide elections," said Lorne Craner, president of IRI.  "This mission will provide valuable insight into the progress Afghanistan has made and we are pleased to have such a distinguished delegation helping to strengthen the Afghan election system."

IRI's delegation will be led by Constance Berry Newman, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs.  Other delegates are Rich Galen, senior advisor, Manning, Selvage & Lee; Brett Hamm, assistant to the mayor and chief of staff, Officer of the Mayor of Oklahoma City; Bill Nojay, business attorney in private practice; Jay Rhodes, former congressman from Arizona; and Diane Tebelius, attorney, LeSourd and Patten, P.S.

Once in Kabul, delegates will be briefed by candidates or their representatives, representatives of Afghanistan civil society, the U.S. Embassy and local media.  They will also be briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Afghanistan election law.  Delegates will identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the Afghanistan's election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.  IRI will monitor polling locations in and around Kabul.

IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission.  IRI staff will be led by Lorne Craner, president of IRI, Judy Van Rest, executive vice president of IRI, and Tom Garrett, regional director for IRI's Middle East and North Africa division.

IRI began working in Afghanistan in 2002.  In advance of the September 18 elections, IRI has been training independent candidates running for parliament or provincial council.  Since April, IRI has trained more than 15,000 potential candidates.  Trainings focused on the role and responsibilities of elected officials and how to register to become a candidate.