Saturday April 12, 2014
Kabul (BNA) The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) officials have announced they had registered around 600 complaints regarding the presidential and provincial council’s elections held on 5 April 2014.
The ECC further stated that special investigations have been launched to assess the shortage of ballot papers which were reported at a number of polling booths around the country during the voting. Saturday’s historic election saw unexpectedly high turnout, defying fears of militant violence and speculations that suspicious of fraud would keep voters from showing up in large numbers for the country’s first democratic transition of power in modern history.
Although Election Day reportedly saw less ballot box stuffing and voter fraud than was the case in 2009, accusations of improprieties biasing certain candidates have increased in the days since.
The historic elections witnessed unprecedented high turnout after the people of Afghanistan defied the threats and intimidation of the surge groups and speculations on possible riggings and frauds participated in the elections in large number to lead the country toward political stability, long-standing peace and security.
April 5 elections will also pave the way for peaceful transition of political power from one elected president to another. Based on the statement of the ECC head Abdul Sattar Saadat the Majority of the complaints so far filed pertained to just five of the eight presidential hopefuls and the complains are mostly about Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Zalmai Rassoul, Sayyaf and Gul Agha Sherzai, saying that all complains have not been collected and there are complaints against all candidates.
In the meantime, the commission officials met with representatives of the presidential candidates who were lobbing accusations of interference and frauds against each other in the election process. Reportedly, the candidates were most concerned with ballot shortages, repots of box stuffing and potential tampering in the days since the elections. The majority of complaints filed with the ECC were said to have been regarding polling centers in Kandahar, Khost, Paktia and Urozgan provinces.
“There was voting on Sunday in Arghestan district of Kandahar province…we want these votes to be counted as invalid and those behind the fraud, including police, governors, district governors and IEC staff to be brought in front of the Attorney General,” presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s First Vice President Mohammad Khan said on Monday. Habiba Surabi, the Second Vice President of Zalmai Rassoul’s ticket said that members of their team had documented some 317 instances of fraud around the country.
“We recorded 317 acts of fraud from different provinces,” Surabi said on Monday. “We have some reports and we are making more that we will soon give to you,” she said to the ECC officials.
The Vice President candidate of Gul Agha Sherzai and Hedayat Amin Arsala also reported incident of fraud on Monday. “Specifically, the boxes that belonged to our team were broken and refilled with new papers, we are going to present you reports,” Sherzai’s Vice President Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi said. Elaborating on the issue, head of the free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) Nadir Nadiri said, “Our findings show that there is huge difference between 2009 and 2014 elections, because the scale of riggings and frauds weren’t much higher.”
Commenting on the topic, chairmen of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) Fahim Naeemi said, “The presidential candidates should keep patience, according to the schedule, they must cooperate so that the remaining process are conducted as per time table, if someone have complains they must refer their documents to the electoral complaints commission.” Successful holding of presidential and provincial councils elections are considered major achievements for the future stability of the country and for institutionalizing democracy in the war-affected country.
The elections were held in a peaceful environment and followed major appreciations inside and outside the country, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) provided satisfactory security coverage to the people of Afghanistan so that they commute to the polling stations without fear and threats and use their right to vote.
Saturday April 12, 2014