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Afghanistan Considers Delaying April Presidential Election

A woman's finger is scanned before casting her vote during parliamentary elections in Kandahar on October 27.

Afghanistan's election authorities are considering delaying a presidential election scheduled for April 2019, an official said, due to delays in registration and ongoing technical issues.

Independent Election Commission (IEC) spokesman Zabi Sadat told RFE/RL on December 27 that the body was meeting "all relevant sides" to discuss postponing the vote, which he said could be delayed until June.

Sadat said the IEC would announce its final decision on December 27.

Candidate registration started on December 22 and was supposed to continue until January 2. But the date will be extended due to lack of registration by any candidate, Sadat said.

The IEC is trying to avoid a repeat of the widespread technical and logistical problems during the October parliamentary vote.

The IEC is still finalizing results of the parliamentary vote and observers have expressed concern that it would struggle to organize a presidential election in April.

The IEC has already considered delaying the poll once, but vowed in November to hold it on time.

The election is complicated by diplomatic efforts to start a formal peace process with the Taliban, whose representatives have met U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad for several rounds of direct talks.

Khalilzad has said a peace deal with the militants could be reached by April.

With reporting by AFP