Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Let’s IECs Do their jobs

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Let’s IECs Do their jobs

Undoubtedly, the presidential election has only one winner but the current atmosphere seems as if everyone is winner. As soon as the presidential election ended, the atmosphere of social media networks has changed to a different color and status. With highlighting higher results and hiding the lower statistics, the supporters of each presidential nominee claimed victory of their favorite candidates. This issue has not only concerned the public opinion but also shows that no parties are ready to accept the outcome of the election, and this may consciously or unconsciously pave the way for a crisis in the near future. If all candidates think themselves victorious, it is natural that accepting the election result will be a challenge. However, Presidential candidates have right to be concerned about the transparency of the elections but through legal mechanism. Legally, it is the right time to collect evidences in order to increase the legitimacy or transparency of election through IECC.
According to Electoral Code, the only authority that can announce election results is the Independent Election Commission. Therefore, any kind of prejudice could be considered as disrespect to will of people and rule of law. It is high time to respect democracy and change our win-win mentality to rule of law and capacity of accepting defeat. In democratic countries, candidates have courage and readiness to congratulate the victory of his rival when IEC announce the election results. Unfortunately, the culture of accepting failure in democratic competition has not been institutionalized in mentality and behavior of our politicians.
Based on analysis of election observing bodies, any types of prejudice are against the electoral principles and can pave the way for crisis. For example, Youssef Rashid, executive director of the Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (FIFA), said the only power to universalize primary and final election results is the Independent Election Commission. According to him, the widespread advertisement through the visual and virtual media is putting “mental pressure” on the IEC to influence on its ultimate decisions and result announcement.
In response to the concerning issue, the United Nations, US and British embassies in Kabul has also issued separate statement urging all parts to remain calm after the election. This means that the dissemination of the statistics and reactions of those involved in the election has also raised concerns among the international community. According to UNAMA, the only authority that can announce election results is the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan. UNAMA also added that it had no comment on the level of turnout and was waiting for the announcement of the Afghan Independent Election Commission.
The British Embassy in Kabul also urged all parties involved in the elections to respect the rule of law in the process of gathering and counting votes.The British Embassy also called on two electoral commissions to carry out their responsibilities impartially and transparently.Thus, the US embassy in Kabul called on all parties involved in the elections to remain calm unless formal announcement of the election outcome and stay committed to the rule of law.
However, predicting the results of the vote is common in old democracies as long as the candidates have a readiness for victory and failure, but it can cause political crisis in context of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the supporters of some candidates try to highlight the favorable votes and hide the unfavorable votes. As a result, the preconceptions of election victory in Afghanistan’s nascent democracy can lead to unpleasant consequences. In addition to above mention issues, such prejudices may make a candidate’s fans happy, but if proven wrong, they could seriously undermine the credibility and independence of election commissions.
The face-book users release different statistics while the IEC could not determine the voter ceiling yet. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has announced that the staffs of the commission have counted more than 2.196 million votes in 3736 polling stations across the country. The IEC officials told reporters late on Sunday that 2,196,436 voters cast ballots in 3,736 polling stations out of 5373 which were active during Saturday’s presidential elections. The officials further added that the election commission expects to receive data regarding 786 polling stations in the near future.
According to a separate report, all the election results have not transmitted to the IEC headquarters due to the lack of telecommunications services in some provinces. Prior to that, however, Independent Election Commission Chairman, Hawa Alam Nuristani, had said they would announce the voter ceiling within two days after the election. Accordance with findings of election monitoring bodies, the telecommunications networks were cut off in 12 provinces on Election Day, making polling stations unable to contact provincial offices or the headquarters of the Independent Election Commission. However, some reports indicate that the process of transferring sensitive and non-sensitive election materials began from polling stations to provincial offices.
Based on the election calendar, the IEC is required to announce the preliminary results of the presidential election twenty days after polling day. Thus, the calendar also obliges the IEC to announce the final results of the presidential election about 40 days after Election Day. In accordance with the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, any kinds of prejudice about election result are against election law and called election offence. As quoted from 8am, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission spokeswoman told the Morning News that no candidate has the right to make baseless bias before announcing the final results. She further added that the pervasion of such prejudices is counted election offence and will have legal consequences in accordance with Article 98 of the Electoral Code.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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