Election process being monitored: EU team
Kabul: The European Union Election Assessment Team (EUEAT) said it was closely monitoring the poll process and would highlight government’s interference and weaknesses of the electoral bodies in its final report.
EUEAT Chief Observer Thijs Berman, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, urged all sides to play a constructive role in the successful and transparent conduct of Saturday’s run-off between Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
Praising the election commissions’ work, he called for the IEC and IECC to step up efforts for holding the polls in a free and fair manner.
The first round of the elections was comparatively good, but lacked ample transparency, he added.
The final report about the elections would be released in mid-July, according to the chief observer, who believed that the vote-tallying process had not been satisfactory for the first round.
Information regarding fraud was released too late to let people, observers and candidates exercise their legal right. The runners were not given enough time to file complaints against the certified results, he maintained.
Fraud: Asked how the first round was rigged in the presence of thousands of observers, Berman replied there had been considerable fraud. But the level of irregularities was lower than the previous elections and did not impinge on the final result, the official explained. He would not comment on the scale of fraud in tomorrow’s vote.
IECC: He hoped all requirements of the IECC would be met. He said his organization would make public a report in mid July with more information.
Interference by government officials: He said it was the duty of the judiciary to investigate such cases minutely. The candidates having reservations regarding the role of security officials or other government employees should convey their grievances to the IECC. “We will include everything in our final report.” he promised.
He expressed optimism that Afghans would demonstrate the same enthusiasm as they did in the presidential and provincial council elections. “Vote is not only a franchise but it paves way for greater peace, good governance and development.
All stakeholders should create awareness among people to vote in larger national interests,” he added. He refused to comment on a recent survey by a US-based organisation that said the level of support for Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai had considerably surged.
However, he did not rule out a drastic change in the number of candidate supporters.
The candidate, whom people thought would win, might lose and that happened in the democratic process, he said, adding it was no surprise. “But I, as an observer, am not interested in the outcome.” Voters were free to decide whom they want to vote, he added, lauding the role of the electoral bodies by saying that it was a big achievement to ensure holding the elections despite insecurity.
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