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IEC Should Address the Valid Demands of the Candidates

Feature: IEC Should Address the Valid Demands of the Candidates

The halted presidential vote recount in Afghanistan was resumed by IEC after about three days of suspension due to the protesters’ demands. The talks did not work out, and the commission restarted the recounting process. Many candidates oppose the recount process, and disputes remain. Protesters have warned that they will not allow recounts if their legal requirements are not met.
It was reported that last week in several provinces the gates of the commission were closed and one of the monitors of the Stability and Convergence Team was killed. However, IEC has decided now that would complete the recount process. Nevertheless, it remains important that the Commission must respond to the legitimate concerns of the protesting groups. At least in the media debate, it is clear that the commission has not yet been able to provide a satisfactory and evidence-based response to the electoral protest groups. The commission’s reasoning should be based on electoral law and legal procedures, not on political reasons which can further complicate the matters.
The situation seems to be getting more complicated; on the one hand, the protesters have not been convinced with the vote recount, and on the other hand, the election commissions have been trying to legitimize biometric polls without regard to the protests. For example, 137,000 “quarantined” votes were declared valid. These are the votes that have already been quarantined by the Dermalog Company, which entered the final calculation of the votes without the knowledge of the election teams. The Commission has not stated in its Declaration that by what mechanism the validity of these votes was made. Moreover, the commission said it would consider 79,843 valid even as they were casted out of voting time. When the vote is casted out of voting time, it is contrary to the procedure and is an issue for the election observers and candidates’ representatives. In this case, the words of the Commission have no meaning. The justification of the commission, which says that the votes of people who voted despite the risk, does not seem to be sufficient. The leadership of the Commission was undoubtedly responsible for making the votes of the people count on election day. Thousands of people failed to exercise their right to vote on election day because of problems, shortcomings, and poor commission management. But this is not a reason to break the law and violate the law. There are several clear indicators in the procedure that can specify clean votes. Out-of-time votes are invalid and contrary to the rules, and commission members should not violate the law and procedures.
Thus, the problems that have led to the controversial vote-counting process remain in place. The recounted votes belonging to 2,432 voting centers lack biometric verification, and the continuation of their recount may prove to be controversial. The basis of the work should be law and electoral procedures. The Commission has repeatedly stated that it will only validate biometric votes. The contradiction in decision-making and the passage of the law only leads to further controversy, complicating matters and the fall of the credibility of electoral institutions.
The main question now is what can and should be done? If the situation goes on like this, there will undoubtedly be more controversy and the election process will in all sense be a political game. In that case, no party will accept the election result. In the event of a continuing conflict, it is ultimately up to future scenarios that will undoubtedly benefit neither the political future of Afghanistan nor the people. The solution is a return to the law and electoral procedures. If the Commission carries out its implementation based on the law, it will undoubtedly be supported by the people.
(Sahar News)

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