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Tensions between IEC, candidates worrisome: IECC

Tensions between IEC, candidates worrisome: IECC

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Dec 08, 2019 - 18:56

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) on Sunday said consulting with presidential candidates for resolving differences between Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) and the election tickets.

On November 9, the IEC announced audit and recount of votes from 8,255 polling stations for separating fraudulent votes from clean ones, but the process faced opposition from a number of presidential candidates including Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, GulbuddinHekmatyar and Rahmatullah Nabil.

About one and half weeks ago, Abdullah’s team warned to stage new phases of protests if the IEC did not reconsider its decisions.

Mohammad QasimElyasi, the IECC spokesman expressed concern over tensions created between the IEC and candidates and hoped the issue would be solved as soon as possible.

In response to a question whether the IECC had the right to intervene if tensions of this type surface, he said, “The law is quiet in this regard, but considering to the monitoring responsibility of the IECC of both commissions, the IECC is now trying to have a positive intervention in this situation.”

According to the article 28 of the electoral law, a central commission should be created for addressing complaints related to violations and identification of electoral crimes.

Elyasi said that the crisis may get more serious if the problem not resolved and fundamental steps should be taken for resolving this issue.

He mentioned beginning of talks with presidential candidates and said that efforts were on for ending tensions between the candidates and the IEC through discussions.

On the other hand, QutbuddinRoidar, a IECC commissioner in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News said that protest was the legal right of every Afghan. “The constitution gives the right to citizens to protest in framework of the law, but we want presidential candidates to resolve their differences and let the audit and recount of votes from the remaining provinces complete.”

He said that IECC had joint meetings with election tickets and IEC and asked them to reach an agreement and put end to their differences.

He said that holding election, collecting votes, audit and recount of votes and announcement of preliminary and final results of election were basic responsibilities of the IEC. “Based on the new electoral law, our responsibility is to only address complaints related to election on time,” he said.

Roidar said that people after the announcement of preliminary result of election also had the right to complain and the IECC would respond to them in according to the law.

He said that if election tickets committed a crime or violation in presence of a complaint, the IECC would respond to it.

In response to a question whether it was legal if preliminary result of election announced without the results from seven out of total 34 provinces, he said, “Based on the IECC decision some polling stations recounted and audited, the electoral law says that it is the job of IEC to collect results and announce it to the public and both the commissions are responsible to address complaints.”

About whether it was a violation or not when candidates boycott from votes recount and audit that caused the process to delay, he said, “We had no discussions on this issue, we may have a discussion about if it if this delayed for more time.”

Roidar added that the list of 2,118 polling stations was shared with the IEC for audit and recount of votes. He said that the number of polling stations reduced to 1,709 as both the commissions had a number of same stations in their lists.

About sharing a new list of 446 polling stations with the IEC for audit and recount, he said that the votes belonged to previous stations and possibly related to the seven provinces where the votes were not recounted or audited.

He did not provide information about how much polling stations from the list shared with the IEC has so far audited, but said that they have asked the commission to provide information on this regard as soon as possible.

The IEC has no the right to ignore the decisions of the IECC and it has to review them, he said.

Mohammad Reza Fayaz, deputy IECC spokesman called the commission an electoral court and said that it was the reason the commission monitored the election process and always decided based on the law when responding to complaints.

He criticized the IEC for ignoring suggestions of the IECC and said that the IECC asked the election commission to provide a response to candidates concerns, but the IEC did not provide effective measures on this regard.

He said the IEC’s decisions should be based on legal documents. “Unfortunately most of the IEC decisions made in the past were controversial and some of its resolutions lacked legal points which create misunderstanding for candidates,” he said.

The IECC tried to mediate for solving the tensions; but the IECC continued its position and the problems unfortunately stay persist, he said.

He asked candidates to allow votes audit and recount process continue and lodge their complaints regarding preliminary results based on the law so the IECC would address them.

About non-announcement of some of the IECC’s decisions, he said that the commission was an electoral court and it had to keep some of its decisions due to some legal reasons while other decisions of the commission were accessible on its website.

If this commission sees violations and electoral crimes, it would intervene based on the law, he said.

He said that tensions between the candidates and the IEC continued due to hasty actions of some of the candidates or not responding to candidates concerns. “We hope the IEC would respond to these concerns and the votes from the rest of provinces also audited and recounted, and preliminary result announced,” he said.

However, the IEC said that they convinced protestors of some of the provinces and provincial offices of the commissions would probably opened in the next two days.

Mirza Mohammad Haqparast, deputy IEC spokesman on December 6 said, “We have talked with the protestors of some of provinces and we are optimistic our provincial offices would be opened in the next few days.”

He said that votes recount and audit process in the seven provinces would continue after their offices opened there.

IEC says it could not announce the preliminary result of election until they were not let by protesting candidates to audit and recount votes of seven provinces.

HawaAlamNuristani, on December 5 said that votes of 27 provinces were audited and recounted but they would not be able to announce the preliminary result until their offices in seven provinces of the country closed by protesting candidates.

She asked candidates, politicians and influential figures in the country to help the commission audit and recount votes of the rest of provinces so it would prepare preliminary result of the election.

Presidential election was held on September 28. Earlier the IEC had given October 19 the date for announcement of preliminary result while November 7 for announcement of final result of the presidential election.

But due to some technical issues and problems during separation of clean and fraudulent votes, the IEC could not announce the result on its due date.

On October 27, the IEC said that primary result of the presidential election would be announced on November 14, but the commission again delayed it for an indefinite time.

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