Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 17th, 2020

Announcing Primary Results: A Big Step Forward

Afghan Presidential election results were announced on Sunday October 22. It was regarded as a bold step forward; because it was about three months that announcing the primary results had changed to a big problem in the country. Unfortunately, announcing elections results in general and presidential elections results in particular, has always been challenging in Afghanistan. Lack of political trust, weak social cohesion, weak electoral institutions, wide spread corruption and ethnic voting are considered as the main factors of electoral violence in Afghanistan.
How ECC shall act to ensure addressing the complaints fairly
Now, all presidential elections teams supervise closely the measures taken by ECC. One of the main demands of the electoral teams from ECC is to assess the electoral complaints according to the law. What raises here is interpretation of “according to the law”; According to the Stability Team, 300,000 votes shall be announced invalid. While Independent Electoral Commission considers them valid according to the MOU, and electoral rules and regulations that all representatives of presidential candidates have accepted and signed them.
However, the law, rules and regulations are clear for assessing the electoral complaints. What matters is that how the ECC will acts independently and observes the electoral law, rules and regulations. ECC may face four major challenges while assessing the complaints: 1) Inconsistency between the law, rules and regulations, 2) Ethnic tendencies, 3) Corruption, 4) Threats posed by presidential candidates Teams.
Inconsistency between the law, rules and regulations is the product of drafting and approving the new elections law that the IEC and ECC did not have enough time to develop comprehensive rules and regulations based on the new law. For example, this law required new software for biometric voting which the Dermalog Company had asked for more time to develop them while there was not enough time to let the company to develop them. Lack of such software posed many challenges to the presidential elections and controversy over about 230,000 votes is due to lack of such a system.
Ethnic voting is one of the negative electoral behaviors in Afghanistan. Members of Elections Complaints Commission are from Afghan ethnic groups. They are under pressure by the leaders of the presidential election teams and their ethnic groups to support certain candidates while their national and professional mandates call them to act fairly and avoid any biases.
Wide spread corruption is the main enemy of democracy in Afghanistan. On the other hand, many people are not optimistic about the future of the country. As such, they usually bribe or take corrupt measures to gain wealth to have a better future. In this context, presidential candidates may approach the ECC commissioners and other high ranking officials to pay them. They may pay cash or promise them good public positions once they win the elections.
Threating the ECC officials is a potential threat that can put their lives in the risk. There are many criminal groups in the country. They traffic narcotics, smuggle goods and kill people if paid. As a result, the government shall ensure the security of the ECC commissioners and officials in order they can perform their tasks with peace of mind.
Announcement of the presidential primary results was a positive step by Afghanistan Independent Commission. However, Addressing the complaints is very challenging and it requires the government to ensure the security of the ECC commissioners and staff. Presidential candidates shall put the interests of the nation first. And the ECC shall act according to the law and address the complaints in a transparent and accountable manner. In addition to this, ECC shall consider the MOU, rules and regulations in assessing the complaints as well.