EU team calls for comprehensive vote audit
KABUL (Pajhwok) The EU Election Assessment Team (EU EAT) on Thursday welcomed the publication online of detailed results per polling station from the June 14 runoff election.
Voters reserved the right to see their ballots respected and the candidates were entitled to a full investigation of serious allegations of fraud, EU EAT said in a statement.
EU Chief Observer Thijs Berman noted: "At this stage of the analysis of the preliminary results, and without an in-depth audit, the final result is as yet uncertain and it is not possible to declare a winner, given the very high number of votes yet to be validated or annulled."
The data on polling stations, provided by the IEC, shows a high number of inconsistencies. Polling stations where one candidate obtained 90% or more votes have not been audited so far. "This affects one third of the polling stations and 4.2 million votes, which is a highly worrying proportion."
According to an analysis of the figures published by the IEC, up to four million of the votes should be further investigated, the observation team said. In spite of the vote increasing by 17% in the run-off, the IEC has invalidated 90% less problematic polling stations than in the first round.
The number of audited polling stations - mainly those with an exceptionally high turnout exceeding 599 ballots - does not match the significantly higher level of inconsistencies identified by the EU EAT in its analysis of the preliminary results.
"Indeed, the audit mechanism was not sufficient to identify proxy voting, ballot stuffing, early shortages of ballot papers and other illegal acts or unusual events. The EU EAT observes that out of 2,229 problematic polling stations, only 135 were excluded from the preliminary results after the conduct of an unsatisfactory, hasty, audit at provincial level."
Berman said: "The EU EAT encourages the election authorities to carry out, in Kabul, a comprehensive and transparent audit of the results in a neutral environment and in close cooperation with all the stakeholders as well as to concentrate audit efforts on the polling stations with very high turnouts, and the polling stations where nearly all the votes were cast in favor of a sole candidate."
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