IEC recounts votes despite oppositions

Addressing a crowd of his supporters in Kabul yesterday, November 10, Abdullah Abdullah, the incumbent chief executive, who is running for 2019 presidential election, called on the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to put the recounting process of votes on halt. He warned that observers from his ticket will not attend the process and in the absence of observers from his ticket the recounting process will lack legitimacy.  

Mr. Abdullah, who is seen as the main rival of the incumbent president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in the 2019 presidential election, leads stability and partnership presidential ticket. Earlier last month, he, talking to his supporters, noted that ‘clean vote’ will decide the future of the country and he will not compromise peoples’ vote this time—pointing to the disputed 2014 presidential election that was brokered by the then US Secretary of State John Kerry.   

Ali Eftikhari, a spokesperson for IEC, told Kabul Now that the IEC has already started recounting process in Kabul. According to him, the recounting process is in line with election law and regulation. Mr. Eftikhari underlined that the IEC has sent committees to provinces to undertake the process.

The IEC has freshly announced that it will recount votes cast in 8,255 polling stations across the country which counts nearly for a third of all the polling stations (more than 25,000) operated on the Election Day, September 28, across Afghanistan.

But Mr. Abdullah has repeatedly pressed the IEC to recount the biometrically verified votes. He claims 137, 630 votes quarantined by Dermalog coupled with 102,012 other votes are of those votes which have been added to ballot boxes, aiming to manipulate the process.  

The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) had previously warned that counting non-biometrically verified votes and votes cast beyond the voting time limit (from 07:00 am to 05:000 pm) would pave the ground for rejection of the election results by presidential tickets. TEFA has also expressed concern over repeated delays in announcement of the preliminary and final election results.

According to TEFA, IEC’s decision to start recounting process violates Article 19 of the election law.

On the other hand, Rahmatullah Nabil, who is also running for the 2019 presidential election, today, November 11, speaking at a press conference, warned that vote manipulation will undermine the newly-born Afghan democracy and push the country into abyss of political crisis. He called on the incumbent president Ashraf Ghani to avoid interfering in election process and stay committed to a free and fair election.

Rahmatullah Nabil

Abdullah, Hekmatyar and Nabil, the three presidential candidates, called on the country’s election commission to put recounting process on halt, something the commission refused to accept despite repeated calls and opposition by candidates.

The state builder ticket, led by Mr. Ghani, however, calls on the rival tickets to avoid making baseless remarks and stay cooperative with the IEC.  

The 2019 Afghan presidential election, though flawed it might be, is the only way for power sharing in a country where all political factions and ethnic groups are struggling to have share in the cake of power.            

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