Problems to get deeper if election-related issues not addressed, watchdog agencies

By: Lailuma Noori

A number of electoral watchdog agencies say if ongoing election-related problems are not solved, the ongoing crisis will get deeper.
Deadlock in vote recount process of the 28 September Presidential elections in seven provinces of the country has raised concern of electoral watchdog agencies. The electoral watchdog agencies say the ongoing problem will further increase if the situation is not managed in a better way.
“If the problem of vote recount process in seven provinces of the country is not addressed, it will be difficult to solve the election-related issues,” said Yousuf Rashid, Chief Director of Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA).
He asked Afghanistan Independent Election Commission to find a clear solution for vote recount process of seven provinces, or the situation would get worse and further increase the problem in future.
On the other hand, chairperson of Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) says the commission cannot invalidate nearly 300,000 votes before ending the vote recount process and audit process of all votes.
“The nearly 300,000 votes should be reviewed and recounted in voting centers as this number of votes cannot be invalidated inside the commission. We should go to the site and refer to the ballot boxes and if they were invalid, we don’t count them and that’s it,” said Hawa Alam Nooristani, Chairperson of IEC.
So far, IEC has not been able to start vote recount process in seven provinces of the country due to protest of a number of electoral teams. The process has been stopped in Panjshir, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Jawzjan, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces after the electoral team led by Abdullah Abdullah protested against the process. The IEC officials hoped they could complete the vote recount process, asserting that they would not announce primary results of the September 28 Presidential election until they did not complete the vote recount process in the respective provinces.
Transparency in elections is a key principle and maintaining transparency in all election-related processes is part of the rights of people as they have the right to be aware from transparency of the process and results of the election time by time. This can be possible when their votes are handled with honesty and all processes related to the elections are reviewed with full transparency.
In the meantime, critics and problems existed in the election process should be reviewed based on the election law as no electoral violations and illegal acts in connection with the election process are accepted. It is worth mentioning that IEC has received technical report of 27 provinces through the commission’s secretariat department and not it is the IEC to decide on the process. With 9.57 million Afghans registered to vote on September 28, estimates indicated that a little more than 1.5 million had gone to the polls.

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