Political parties warn to form parallel gov’t if IEC does not address their demands
As the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has started the second round of recount and special audit of some polling stations, three major political parties supporting Chief Executive Abdullah have warned that they would form a parallel government if the IEC does not ensure accountability of the votes and address their demands.
The warning was first issued by
President’s Ghani’s First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, who is the leader
of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan. Mr. Dostum is a staunch
supporter of Abdullah. The warning was subsequently supported by Hezb-e-Jamiat
Islami and Hezb-e-Wahdat Islami— two major parties that represent the ethnic
Tajiks and Hazaras.
After nearly a two month-long
assessment of election related complaints, the Independent Electoral Complaints
Commission (IECC) came up with the decision to do a special audit of almost 1,500
polling stations as sample stations which will determine the fate of around
300,000 controversial votes.
Three major presidential tickets led
by Abdullah, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and Rahmatullah Nabil have repeatedly called
for invalidation of the 300,000 votes, arguing that they were either cast
fraudulently or beyond the voting time limit on September 28, 2019.
Special audit and a
second recount process
The IEC said on Sunday, February 16,
that it has already started the second round of recount process in Badakhshan,
Takhar, Sar-e-Pul, Faryab, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kabul
provinces. It noted that the special audit of sample polling stations for
around 300,000 controversial votes is underway in the central headquarters of
the IEC. According to the election commission, the recount process has been
completed in Ghazni, Helmand, and Sar-e-Pul provinces.
Appearing in a press conference held
on Sunday, February 16, Fazal Ahmad Manawi, a senior member of Abdullah’s
presidential ticket, accused IEC of starting the recount and special audit
process unilaterally and in the absence of the ticket’s observers and electoral
Raising doubts over the performance
of the electoral commissions, Manawi, warned that they would boycott the
process if the IEC continues on its unilateral actions. He further went on to
describe special audit in sample polling stations as contrary to election law
The special audit and recount
process once started last Thursday, February 13, but was stopped after
observers of the IECC left the area, protesting against a reported violation of
counting procedures by the IEC.
Habibul Rahman Nang, secretariat of
the IEC, says that IECC observers are currently monitoring recount process in
some provinces while there is no IECC observers in some others for no reason.
Differences in IECC
Apparently new differences have emerged between commissioners of the complaint commission, IECC, since last Thursday, February 13, over sending its observers to oversight implementation process of the complaints commission’s decisions by the IEC in provinces and in the capital, Kabul.
Though Habibul Rahman Nang, said Sunday that the IECC observers have left recount and special audit process in some provinces without any reason, sources from IECC told Kabul Now that the commission observers will not make presence in the process until the IEC continues to violate the special audit and recount procedures.
The IECC has instructed its
provincial offices not to attend the recount and special audit process until a
second notice from the commission’s central office in Kabul.
Executive director of Free and Fair
Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA), Yousuf Rashid, confirmed that IECC
observers left the process hours after it was started. He, however, denounced
the IECC’s move as questionable and in defiance to organization or professional
behavior. Mr. Rashid concluded that there are seemingly some differences within