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IECC under fire for invalidating all Kabul votes

IECC under fire for invalidating all Kabul votes

Dec 08, 2018 - 19:35


KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Political experts, electoral watchdogs, candidates and lawmakers have criticized the invalidation of all votes cast in Kabul province, says biometric votes from polling stations where no complaint was received should be declared valid.

The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) on Thursday announced invalidation of votes cast at all polling stations in Kabul due to fraud and rigging.

However, shortly after the announcement, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday evening rejected the IECC’s decision as hasty and politically motivated.

The IECinfo-icon had said invalidating all votes of Kabul tantamount to disregarding and disrespecting all efforts and sacrifices made during the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon election process in Kabul.

Also late Thursday, a number of leading Wolesi Jirga candidates held a meeting and said the IECC decision of invalidating all votes from Kabul was illegal.

Shahla Farid, lecturer at Kabul University, told Pajhwok Afghan News everyone knew rigging had taken place even in Kabul but not to the extent that all votes should be invalidated.

She said if the decision was not reconsidered, it would bring under question the respect for vote, social justice and elections.

Offering solution to the issue, she said not only biometric votes but votes from polling stations where not complaints had been received should be declared as valid.

Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political affairs expert, said: “Rigging happened, but not to the extent that all votes should be declared invalid. In my opinion, it was an irresponsible decision and in contrary to the existing political, economic situation of the country.”

He said all votes in Kabul were not fraudulent and in some polling stations no rigging took place and the election process went fair.

Some Wolesi Jirga members also warned if the two election bodies did not resolve their differences and failed to recognize their responsibilities, the masses would no longer participate in polls.

Abdul Rahim Niyazi, a lawmaker from Kandahar province, said the reason behind invalidation of Kabul votes was not rigging, but differences between the two commissions. He said the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the IECC should work in cooperation with each other and avoid confrontation.

Ayubi added invalidation of Kabul votes would mean burial of democracy and determinations of the people.

Zmarak Pakhabi, a lawmaker from Kabul province, said the IECC should differentiate between polling stations from where complaints had been registered and polling stations from where there were no complaints.

He said the only solution to the issue was to declare valid biometrically verified votes.

Yousuf Rashid, executive head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistaninfo-icon (FEFA), termed the IECC decision as taken in haste and suggested separate of biometric and non-biometric votes.

He termed the IECC decision as unjust and added: “I don’t think this decision will be implemented in the current circumstances.”

Mohammad Naeem Ayubzada, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), said: “According to our inspection, rigging did not happen in all Kabul polling stations and the IECC decision in this regard has been taken hastily and should not have been shared with the media.”

Zabihullah Saadati, IEC deputy spokesman, said the two commissions had jointly launched audit of 182 polling stations and primary results of Kabul province would be declared in four days.





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