Slow-paced vote audit may deepen crisis: analysts
KABUL (Pajhwok): Political experts say Afghanistan could plunge into political and economic crises if the slow-paced process of auditing all votes is not accelerated and the new president is not inaugurated on schedule.
The inspection of all votes cast in the June 14 presidential election runoff started on July 17 with mediation from the UN and the US following tensions between the two frontrunners. However, the audit has been suspended thrice so far.
More than 23,000 ballot boxes were supposed to be audited within three weeks, but so far 1,300 boxes had been assessed.
“If the process continues with the same pace, it will take around a year to complete. It is a waste of time,” remarked political analyst Abdul Ghafoor Liwal.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News Afghanistan needed to conclude the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US before the NATO summit on September 5 because the summit would decide post-2014 assistance to Afghan security forces.
He also said an international meeting would take place regarding peace and stability in Afghanistan in China in August.
Chinese officials say Afghanistan needs more international support than ever and there is a chance for Afghanistan to achieve a long lasting peace.
“But if the vote assessment process remains slow, and the results are not announced before these meetings, Afghanistan will be deprived of international assistance and the country will land into crisis,” Liwal said.
He hoped the authorities concerned would speed up the vote assessment process after Eid holidays and would be able declare the winner based on genuine votes.
The mediation by the UN and the US rose hopes for solution to the political stalemate and international concerns. The international community will not sacrifice its strategic goals for the sake of demands of the two frontrunners.
Liwal also said the term “unity government” was vague. He believed if the motive behind the unity government was ending the current crisis, then the armed opponents should also be included in the process because Afghanistan faced military crisis.
Javed Kohistani, another political analyst, said the suspension of the ballot assessment was a result of disagreement between the two runners over the checklist of invalidation of votes, a problem to be resolved after Eid holidays.
Weak management and the government’s interference in the election process had resulted into economic, political and international standoff, Kohistani said.
“If the vote assessment process is not accelerated by the Independent Election Commission, the country will face more challenges because a prolonged process will not allow the signing of the BSA ahead of international meetings on Afghanistan.”
Kohistani also called the deteriorating security another reason behind the deadlocked electoral process: “The vote assessment is vital for building trust, legitimization of the future president and his government.”
Kohistani termed mediation of the international community as very important for the country’s future and said: “There is hope that after the Eid holidays, the counting of votes will be sped up, the deadlock resolved and the public concerns will be addressed.”
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