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Kabul rally wants IEC leadership tried, all votes invalidated

Kabul rally wants IEC leadership tried, all votes invalidated

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Jan 26, 2019 - 19:40

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A number of Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon candidates rallied in capital Kabul on Saturday to press for trial of the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) leadership and invalidation of all votes cast in the central province during the parliamentary polls.

The Wolesi Jirga elections were conducted on October 20 and 21 across 32 provinces of the country and in Kandahar, on October 27. The IEC recently announced initial Wolesi Jirga election results after a three-month delay.

Dozens of protesting candidates and their supporters in Kabul rejected the initial results and accused the IEC chief and secretary of corruption.

Hawa Alam Nuristani, one of the protesting candidates, said: “We agree all candidates cannot win, but our struggle is against corruption and for elecrtoral transparency, the IEC is answerable to the masses.”

She demanded invalidation of all Wolesi Jirga votes cast in the Kabul zone and said the elections in the capital were unjust and people’s rights were violated.

Masuma Tusli, another protesting candidate, also alleged massive fraud in the polls in Kabul and said: “The IEC leadership during a meeting with us confessed that votes were sold and bought, the commission’s head for Kabul has also called for invalidation of all votes from this zone due to the massive fraud, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission should do what it admitted that 80 percent of candidates used money to find their way to the parliament.”

The IECC once also announced that Kabul votes were invalid, but the decision was changed into recounting Kabul votes.

Sayed Ali Akbar Kazimi, who failed in the initial Wolesi Jirga results, said, besides financial corruption, technical corruption had also occurred in Kabul elections. He said those involved in corruption should be identified and taken to task.

He said Kabul candidates had discussed the issue with President Ashraf Ghani and they hoped Kabul votes would be declared as invalid over the next few days.

Mohammad Daud Kalakani, another candidate and participant of the rally, said, “Our aim is justice, we do not want a few mafia figures and self-interested people to enter the parliament, if we do not raise our voice today, tomorrow we would be ruled by a group of mafia.”

Erfanullah Erfan, a sitting lawmaker from Kabul who also failed according to the initial results, accused the IEC of treason and said: “We would organize huge protests if the government ignored our demands and the government would be responsible for the consequences.”

Zabihullah Sadat, IEC deputy spokesman, last week said that protesting candidates should provide evidence about their claims of corruption and fraud.

He rejected claims IEC commissioners accepted bribes and said those claiming so should share evidence with judiciary organs so those responsible were brought to justice.

Sadat had said the IEC had been able to maintain transparency during the election and failing candidates should not create problems for the commission and the public.

Meanwhile, IECC spokesman Ali Reza Rohani said they were processing thousands of complaints received about the initial results of Kabul elections.

mds/ma

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