Preliminary election result will come out on Nov 14

Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) has yet to work hard to announce the result of long-awaited Afghan presidential election which was held on 28 September. Though the preliminary election result was scheduled to come out on October 19, the IEC failed to meet the deadline.

Election watchdogs say the IEC may take more time to announce the election result. Last year, after almost eight months of delay, the IEC finally managed to announce the final result of the 2018 parliamentary election.       

According to the IEC, all of biometrically verified votes which count for a total of 1,932, 673 votes have been transmitted to the central server. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, October 26, an IEC commissioner, Awrangzib, said the ongoing counting process of biometrically verified votes will be completed by October 30, with technical assistance by Dermalog Company.

All indications, given the state of affairs in the IEC, show that the country’s election commission may take months to announce the preliminary election result.   

On the other hand, Mawlana Abdullah, an IEC commissioner, wrote on his Facebook account last night, October 26, that according to election law 770,000 to 900,000 votes would be declared invalidated.  

Soghra Saadat, spokesperson for the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), says internal differences in the IEC, pressures by presidential tickets, recommendations made by foreign ambassadors, poor management, technical inability, and lack of independence have delayed announcement of election result.

“The election commission does not have strong and defined mechanism to distinguish clean votes from unclean votes. Now [they] look like to be in a state of bafflement,” She asserted while stressing on announcing the result as soon as possible.

Chief Executive Abdullah, who is said to be the main rival of the incumbent president Ghani in 2019 presidential election, said last night, October 26, the election result will be critical for Afghanistan. He reiterated that he will not make the same compromise as he did in 2014—pointing out to disputed 2014 presidential election which was brokered by the US Foreign Secretary John Kerry.       

Expressing dissatisfaction over performance of the IEC, Yousuf Rasheed, who is executive director of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA), criticized the IEC for not having a clear plan.

Naser Naserizad, who is TEFA’s observer at the IEC, says the commissions have apparently faced problems in counting biometrically votes. He added that counting votes based on photo of the national identity card, photo, and finger print would take two weeks.

According to Ms. Saadat, rejection of the election result by presidential tickets would push the country into political crisis. “Political pressure, technical problems, and lack of capacity have halted announcement of election result,” she added.

Rasheed argues delay will undermine election process and pose new challenges to the commission.  

Under pressure and load of work, the Independent Election Commission has announced today, Oct 27, that it will announce the preliminary election result on November 14.