Concerns remain high on result of Afghan presidential poll
As Afghanistan’s top two
presidential candidates struggle to win a majority vote to get elected as the
country’s next president, many candidates warn that country will be mired into
swamp of crisis if Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) fails to
ensure accountability in vote counting. The country’s election commission has
repeatedly stated that the IEC will count those votes that are registered in
biometric records, saying that those votes that are not registered in biometric
records will be declared invalidated.
Following disputes on the issue
of non-biometric votes, the incumbent president, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who is
leading the state builder presidential ticket, announced his ticket will
respect any decision that will be made by the IEC, the country’s only
authorized organization that can make final announcement on election result.
The disputed 2014 Afghan
presidential election brokered by then US foreign secretary John Kerry gave
birth to National Unity Government with Ashraf Ghani sitting in the driving
seat of it, and his main rival Abdullah Abdullah working as president’s chief
executive. Though the US brokered National Unity Government rescued the country
of collapsing down into deeper quagmire, the two leaders blamed each other for
their failures. All the way through the reign of National Unity Government,
Ashraf Ghani kept chanting slogan against some strongmen whom he saw as main
barrier against good-governance while his chief executive along with a number
of Afghan politicians, who had helped Ghani come into power, reproached him for
his selective approach on fighting corruption and governance. Abdullah said
that Ghani manipulated power in his hand.
Election watchdogs and civil
society organizations have warned that the country will face new political
challenges if any party puts pressure on the country’s election commission to
count non-biometric votes—votes that are not registered in biometric records.
Najib Danish, a spokesperson for Ghani’s presidential ticket, told Kabul Now that the state builder ticket will respect any decision made by the IEC. But a number of presidential candidates including Faramarz Tamana, Rahmatullah Nabel and Latif Pidram have repeatedly warned that a widespread election fraud have taken place in favor of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the two candidates who are still in power.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, another candidate who is running for 2019 presidential election, as early as last month, expressed serious concern over the issue of non-biometric votes. Mr. Hekmatyar, who is leading Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, openly lambasted on Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, accusing them of waging widespread election fraud. He claims official record of the IEC suggests at least 10,000 votes have been cast in restive Rohani Baba district of eastern Paktiya province where even the government-appointed governor cannot go.
We will accept any decision
made by the commission as it is the only authorized institution that is allowed
to make the final decision,” Najib Danish said.
Amid election contest,
Afghanistan’s senate speaker, Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, who is a close ally of
Ashraf Ghani, bragged that he along with his supporters would force the IEC to
count non-biometric votes. Muslimyar’s remarks from senate podium was followed
by a widespread public condemnation and he made a public apology for his
injudicious remark. Many presidential candidates were quick to condemn
Muslimyar, warning that they would not allow the IEC to count non-biometric
Yousef Rasheed, executive
director for FEFA told Kabul Now that non-biometric votes, if counted, will
undermine the legal credibility of election. He called on all candidates not to
interfere in IEC’s work and let it work independently. FEFA’s director
underlined that on Election Day the IEC failed to do its job as guided by the
code of conduct and election procedure.
Abdullah, an IEC commissioner, says the Independent Election Commission will
only count clean votes, emphasizing that the commission will not count non-biometric
Concerns over outcome of the 2019 presidential election remain high whereas the IEC announced yesterday, October 05, that in some provinces as many as seven bio-metric devices and 21 date chips of the bio-metric devices were missing.
is a country where democracy and election are a new experience for power
sharing. The country’s recent history has been shaped by violent struggle for