Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Over 13,000 Complaints Lodged During Elections

Over 13,000 Complaints Lodged During Elections

KABUL - Statistics show that more than 13,000 complaints have been received by the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), elections watchdogs and TOLOnews during the parliamentary elections last Saturday.
Electoral monitoring organizations said that most of the complaints are serious and that they can leave impacts on the elections results.
From amongst 13,000 complaints, 7,000 have been registered by the IECC, 5,000 by TOLOnews and 1,300 complaints by the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan.
Poor management, absence of voters’ list in polling centers, lack of biometric devices in polling centers, misuse of authority by IEC staff members against voters and stopping observers to monitor the vote counting process are making the main complaints which have been lodged by people during the two days of the parliamentary elections.
According to the IECC, in some areas, local lawbreakers forced voters to cast vote in support of their favorite candidates.
“As the only legitimate authority, our provincial offices will assess the complaints for 15 days. After that, they will share the outcome of their investigation with complainers,” said IECC deputy chief Humaira Haqmal.
The IECC states that local lawbreakers also closed down polling centers and rigged votes in favorie of their candidate and even some provincial chiefs and governors intervened in elections.
Election watchdogs have also said that their observers registered hundreds of fraud and rigging cases on the election day.
“Up to 1,300 serious cases of violations and fraud were reported and they can have impacts on the elections,” said Naeem Asghari, deputy head of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA).
“We have gathered majority of result sheets from polling centers and election sites. There are videos which show fraud and riggings in the process,” said  Naeem Ayoubzada, CEO of Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan.
The IEC meanwhile said it has assigned a task team to investigate the fraud claims.
A footage seen by media from IEC commissioners indicate that election management bodies are also quite concerned about the shortcomings on the polls day.
As well on Wednesday, IECC said that most of the complaints lodged so far are related to shortcomings by the Independent Election Commission on election day.
“They (IEC) did not publish the lists. Unfortunately most of the complaints are related to the lists. Again, we are blamed that Afghans couldn’t manage it well,” said Haqmal.
A footage obtained by TOLOnews from Baghlan province reveals that a large scale fraud took place in several districts across the province.
The footage shows some security force members enter polling centers with a number of armed men and intimidate IEC employees.
Majority of fraud has taken place in Khost, Baghlan-e-Markazi and Tala Wa Barfak districts of Baghlan province, the documents obtained by TOLOnews show.
“There were some lawmakers. Threats were high against us. They warned us, even we were not allowed to take a photo from the issue or make a video so that we could manage the process properly,” said Mohammad Yunus, an IEC employee in Baghlan.
In addition, some election candidates have claimed that local officials in Baghlan were involved in fraud.
“IEC officials had an upper hand in the fraud and played a key role in this issue specially in Khost district,” said Mawlawi Raji, member of Baghlan Provincial Council.
The IEC officials in Baghlan said supporters of some candidates were involved in security issues in the province.
“Majority of these fraud and violations happened by those who were supposed to help us in the process. I once again say that part of security threats was artificial,” said Abdul Qaher Wahab Safai, head of IEC office in Baghlan.
According to IEC officials, at least 30 polling centers remained closed in Baghlan on the election day due to security threats. (Tolo news)