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‘Fraud increased with each election in Afghanistan’

‘Fraud increased with each election in Afghanistan’

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Jan 17, 2019 - 20:12

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Participants of a conference in Kabul about fraud and irregularities in the 2014 presidential election on Thursday said fraud and violations had increased with each election in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The conference titled ‘unveiling report of irregularities in 2014 presidential elections’ was organized by the Afghanistan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) in Kabul.

The participants said public participation and independence of the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) had declined.

A 100-page report authored by Tomas Johnson, an analyst outside the AISS, was released on the occasion, in which fraud, law violations and irregularities in the 2014 presidential elections were alleged.

The report said the results of the 2014 presidential election were illegal. “Any elections held after 2004 in Afghanistan were fraudulent, but the fraud in 2014 elections was so massive that both teams of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Ashraf Ghani claimed victory,” it said.

The report also explained the results of the first and second round of the 2014 presidential poll and changes between them, as well as the votes of each province, the names of presidential candidates and votes cast by each ethnic group (Pashtuninfo-icon, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek).

Tomas Johnson, the report author, also attended the conference through Skype and said the report was prepared based on facts, eyewitness accounts with fully impartially.

He said he obtained the results of the second round of the 2014 presidential elections lately and that was the reason the report was also published late.

Daud Ali Najafi, former IEC secretary who was present at the conference, called the report as ‘professionally written’ and said the report pointed to all sides in the elections.

 “The list of voters for the next presidential elections should be prepared one month ahead of the Election Day and a census process should be launched, if we have accurate number of population, then there is no need to transfer more ballot papers to polling stations,” he said.

Najafi said elections would be never transparent unless the IEC acted as an independent organization and according to the law.

Mohammad Naim Ayubzada, the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) head, said fraud and government’s interference in election affairs increased with each election while the public trust in the polls and the IEC’s independence declined.

He criticized the procedure of appointing the election commissioners and said, “The Selection Committee of election commission members is not a clear filter because the commissioners are chosen based on political motives, we should not expect reforms in elections until these commissioners pass through this filter.”

He also criticized power concentration in the IEC and said, “The capacity of provincial IEC offices should improve to help limit fraud. All authorities should not be confined only to the central office of the commission.”

Pointing to the peace process, he said: “The peace process is still without fate, this process will probably affect the presidential elections and may delay the polls.”

Ayubzada said the voter registration process should be based on biometric system in order to increase transparency in the presidential elections.

The presidential elections are scheduled for July 20, 2019. Eight candidates have so far registered their candidacies for the elections.

mds/ma

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