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Revelations Regarding Electioneering in Afghanistan

Feature: Revelations Regarding Electioneering in Afghanistan

The facts and events in Afghanistan clearly show that there are efforts underway regarding electioneering in upcoming presidential election, especially by those who must the guardians of democracy and democratic institutions.
An official from Independent Election Commission (IEC) Afghanistan recently said that the report by security institutions about the closure of 431 polling stations is unrealistic and fake.
“They [security institutions] have reported that 431 centers are closed, 675 centers are under high level security threats, 907 centers are under medium security threats. But the 431 centers they mentioned, for me who lives in Afghanistan, this figure is not true,” said Abdullah, an IEC commissioner.
The report in question indicates that some of the polling stations that were opened during last October’s parliamentary elections are now closed due to serious security threats.
Abdullah claims that the security organizations have no basis for their findings. He also alleged that people holding positions in the IEC secretariat were illegally hired.
“We have illegal people working in the high-level posts in the secretariat, we have illegal people there, and they have an illegal presence there. There are people who are hired illegally, while those who successfully passed the test are walking in the corridors of the courts,” added Abdullah.
It can be inferred from the statements made by this member of the IEC leadership that there are hidden hands in the IEC as well as in the security agencies trying to engineer and rig the September 28 presidential election.
Earlier, a number of presidential candidates, political parties and some institutions overseeing the engineering of the election results have expressed concern that the “state-building team” led by President Ashraf Ghani is using the government’s resources to pave the way for fraud in upcoming polls.
Political analysts believe that insecurity in the provinces of the country, along with the low participation of residents in those provinces, will also provide the ground for fraudulent ballot stuffing for the ruling state-building team. So, if the voting process is not overseen, it is feared that the September 28 election is likely to be more expensive than the one in the 2014 presidential election. It may even get worse.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that the Taliban and other militant groups are in control of fifty percent of Afghanistan’s territory, thus, the statistics provided by the IEC field offices and security agencies about the secure polling stations do not match the reality.
So, it seems that those who are trying to rig and engineer the election results will take advantage of these numbers – they can easily caste fraudulent votes in the polling stations that are shown open in the statistical data, but will actually remain closed for the public; they will have all the voting materials delivered to them, paving the way for the fraudulent votes.
Although there are claims that IEC is fully independent in the electoral process, political figures, some observer bodies, and a number of presidential candidates believe that the IEC does not have the necessary independence in its affairs and programs. The leadership of this body works on the orders of the government, in particular: President Ashraf Ghani, head of the National Unity Government (NUG).
Recently CEO Abdullah emphasized: “If the interference in the IEC is not stopped, the sixth election process will be severely damaged.” The alarm for the upcoming election crisis has already been set.
The government, however, has always emphasized that the IEC is independent in its work, and there is no pressure from the government on its authority.
President Ghani has asked from security forces and civilians officials to stay neutral in the presidential election, but there are reports that local governors have become Ghani’s campaigners in some provinces.
(Sahar News)

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