IEC likely to postpone announcement of Afghan presidential election result

In a tweet posted on October 08, Mawlana Abdullah, a commissioner of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), said most likely the IEC cannot meet the deadline to announce the preliminary result of election which was scheduled to come out on October 19. He said vote counting process is very slow and the IEC will not be able to announce the preliminary election result as scheduled if things move slowly.  

Noor Rahman Akhalqi, a member of stability and partnership presidential ticket led by Chief Executive Abdullah, says that it looks like the IEC will postpone the announcement date of the election result.

The Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) also noted as the digitalizing process of the biometric records is moving slowly, the election commission may not be able to announce the preliminary result as scheduled.   

The IEC, however, justifies that the central server—configured by the German Dermalog company—does not work as swift as it was expected to work. Ali Eftikhari, a spokesperson for the IEC, told Kabul Now that German engineers will arrive in Kabul in two coming days to fix the server. “Most likely the preliminary results will be announced on October 19,” Eftikhari reiterated.

Mr. Akhalaqi, however, expressed doubt if slow operation of the IEC was a real technical problem. “We hope it is a technical problem, not an organized political one,” he added.

On the other hand, Najib Danish, a spokesperson for the state builder ticket led by President Ghani, told Kabul Now that they were satisfied of the commission. “We do not have any complaint about the commission’s work,” he said.  

The IEC is busy checking the votes and digitalizing them in two parallel processes. In first step, IEC staffs scan the result sheets received from provinces and in the second step they enter the details of voters—finger print, voter’s photo, copy of ID card—recorded by biometric devices to the system.

Abdullah’s team have already announced that they would only accept votes identifiable by biometric devices as valid votes while his rival team led by Ghani have declared that they would accept any decisions made by the IEC on biometric and non-biometric votes.

US Embassy in Kabul, called on all sides to respect the required time for the IEC and Independent Electoral Complaint Commission to deliver accurate and transparent election results. “Better to be right than fast,” said the US Embassy in a tweet posted on October 09.

On October 07, a US delegation led by Karen Decker, chargé d’affaires, paid a visit to Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission to check the vote counting process.  Following the visit, the US Embassy announced that there was no place for fraud in the Afghan election.

Speaking in a press conference today, October 09, Naeem Ayoubzada, director of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), rejected remarks made by the US embassy, saying that there is ground for fraud in the commission. “We urge the international community to take realistic stance,” he added.

Talking to press today, October 09, Awrangzib, an IEC commissioner, said that the commission’s operation was closely monitored by presidential nominees and electoral watchdogs. He asserted that the IEC is working with full independence and transparency.

The IEC, however, has already announced that they have a certain mechanism for distinguishing ‘clean and unclean votes.’ IEC authorities repeatedly said that non-biometric votes would be separated from those of biometric ones.

Afghanistan held its fourth presidential poll on September 28 amid high security threats but in a relatively secure situation.

13 nominees, including Ghani and Abdullah, ran in the election for being elected as next president of the country.

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