Senate for tribunal to probe election results
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Meshrano Jirga -- the upper house -- on Sunday called for the creation of a special tribunal to investigate results from the April provincial council polls, seeking prosecution of top election officials.
Rejecting explanations from Independent Election Commission (IEC) Deputy Chairman Abdur Rahman Hotaki, the Senate suggested a special tribunal should be set up to probe the results and electoral watchdog officials prosecuted for insulting the house.
The provincial council elections were held simultaneously with the first round of the presidential election on April 5. Results from the polls were announced about a week earlier, triggering protests by losing runners in various provinces.
The Senate on Sunday summoned electoral officials to brief lawmakers about the disputed results.
Hotaki appeared before the upper house on behalf of the election commission, but none from the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) arrived in the house.
Some lawmakers alleged the IECC had fraudulently declared a number of losing candidates as winners, replacing their names with winning rivals in the final list.
Senate second vice-chairman Rafiullah Gul Afghan, who lost his reelection bid, said they would not stay silent until their right was surrendered. He warned not to let any provincial council member enter Kabul.
Another senator and losing candidate from southern Zabul province, Mohammad Daud Asas, said his name had been removed from the final list under a political plot.
“When the initial list was announced, I met Hotaki Sahib and he told me to contact the IECC chief. Hotaki phoned the IECC chief, Abdul Sattar Sadat, and told him to keep care of my votes, but Sadat said only those giving 200,000 dollars can win,” alleged Asas on the face of Hotaki.
Asas continued Hotaki told Sadat over the phone that Asas had no money to offer. “Hotaki Sahib is here, if I am telling a lie, hang me or hang those who have committed the fraud,” the lawmaker said.
He claimed possessing recording of the Hotaki-Sadat conversation and other evidence proving fraud in his case.
In response, Hotaki said: “I phoned to defend you, what’s my sin? I have tried to save your votes from a political victimisation.”
Responding to a volley of questions and criticism from senators, Hotaki said the lack of accurate number of voters, security and statistics were the challenges making it impossible to hold standard and transparent elections in the country.
He said names of some candidates had been removed from the final list by the IECC. “After the announcement of the initial list, candidates are required to submit their complaints with the IECC, which is responsible for all the later affairs and the IEC is bound to implement the watchdog’s decisions.”
He said the IEC had no authority to include or expel someone’s name in the list of results, but the commission would do whatever it could under the law and within its authority for the disgruntled candidates.
He confirmed some ministers, governors, security officials, candidates and their supporters had committed fraud and meddling in the elections.
But first deputy chairman, Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, who presided over the session, said explanations offered by Hotaki were not acceptable to the house.
He said the government should create a special tribunal to investigate the election outcome and called for IECC officials to be prosecuted because they had insulted the house for not appearing before it.
His remarks were endorsed by lawmakers by raising green cards. However, IECC officials have been in the United States.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.