Cabinet accused of meddling in IEC affairs
KABUL (PAN): The Afghanistan National Coalition (ANC), the main opposition party, on Thursday denounced a Cabinet decision as brazen interference in the electoral body's affairs, accusing the President Karzai government of trying to bring independent state organs under its influence.
The Cabinet recently asked the Independent Eelection Commission (IEC) to allow the use of old voter cards in the upcoming elections in order to help save the money required for the voter registration process.
But the coalition, led by former foreign minister Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, alleged the government wanted to rig the election through the use of the old voter cards that contained flaws.
ANC spokesman Syed Hussain Fazil Sancharaki warned that government's meddling in IEC affairs could deprive the nation of fair and free elections.
"We had less than 14 million eligible voters in the country, but voter cards were distributed to 22 million people in the past," said Syed, who claimed database available with IEC was full of fraud and needed corrections.
"The use of old voter cards would definitely bring problems to elections," said Waqif Hakimi, who speaks on behalf of the Jamiat-i-Islami Party in the political alliance.
Recalling problems in previous polls, the politician said new voter cards could help bring down the level of fraud in next elections, while the old ones would undermine vote credibility.
A spokesman for the Administrative Affairs Department at the Presidential Palace, Rafi Firdaus said that all relevant government departments were committed to holding transparent elections.
He explained the Cabinet had proposed the use of old voter cards in case computerised identity cards could not be distributed to people nationwide.
"The election commission is an independent body under the constitution and the Council of Ministers is a policy-making organ that can give suggestions to IEC," he added.
IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor confirmed receiving a letter from the Presidential Palace proposing the use of available database for next elections. However, he said it was the election commission whether to consider or not the government's proposal.
Noor acknowledged the election commission could not launch any project if it had no support from the government, calling for alternative means if new voter cards could not be distributed.
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