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Kuchi candidates’ complaints remain unaddressed

Kuchi candidates’ complaints remain unaddressed

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On
Apr 22, 2019 - 16:47

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Attorney General Office (AGO) says it had referred complaints lodged by Kuchiinfo-icon (nomads) Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon candidates to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), but the commission is yet to make any progress on them while the results of the same constituency are expected within a week.

Some Wolesi Jirga candidates from the Kuchi constituency had submitted evidences of fraud and rigging to the AGO, asking for invalidation of fraudulent votes.

In their complaint letter to the AGO, Kuchi candidates said the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) had told them ahead of the elections that nomads could cast their votes at any polling station, but later the commission changed its decision and said nomads could vote only in polling sites where they had registered as voters.

Absence of a list of polling sites related to Kuchi constituency, stuffing ballot boxes in favor of specific candidates, beating and threatening Kuchi election observers, closure of some of Kuchi polling stations and barring Kuchis from casting their votes at some polling centers were complaints of the candidates.

The candidates say no votes in their constituency missed biometric verification, but the IEC has said some votes were polled without biometric system used. Kuchi candidates claim the IEC is trying to declare some specific candidates as winners by making such statements.

The protesting candidates say the IEC had registered more than 66,000 votes in Kuchi populated areas, but “the fact is that only around 20,000 votes were polled on the Election Day in these areas.”

The letter says the votes of their polling stations were recounted in their absence; their complaints ignored and 4,400 fake votes were cast in 32 polling stations related to Kuchis.

They say they have clear evidence to substantiate their claims and have shared them with the AGO few months back, but received no response so far.

IEC deputy spokesman Zabihullah Sadat, talking about the issue, said: “It is the IECC responsibility to address such complaints.”

Sadat added he could not answer questions regarding the issue as former commissioners (of the election bodies who were in charge of addressing complaints) had been dismissed and it would be better to ask the AGO about the matter.

AGO

Electoral Crimes Preliminary Investigation Committee on April 4 said that (Kuchi candidates’ complaints) have been investigated in accordance with the Electoral Law and were explained as election violations which should be addressed by the IECC.

Meanwhile, Zahra Bayan Shinwari, the newly appointed IECC chief, said that the complaints had been processed. “We have forwarded the issue to the commission’s secretariat, but I do not know what happened to them there, the next process of the issue is related to the technical section.”

However, Mohammad Qasim Elyasi, spokesman of the IECC, said he had no information in this regard.

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