IEC To Recount Votes From 11 Provinces

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Tuesday announced that it would recount the votes from 404 polling stations in eleven provinces after having received numerous complaints.

The IEC said that votes from at least 18 provinces so far have been processed in the database and that the information of about 100,000 voters has been transferred from the biometric identification devices to the main servers.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani called for votes not registered on the biometric system to be invalidated.

“The government respects the independence of the commission, but most complaints so far are filed against the commission’s staff; the honorable commission should assure the people of Afghanistan (the process) will be held transparently,” said Ghani.

But former NDS chief Amrullah Saleh has accused Ghani’s close aides of having meddled in the parliamentary elections.

“Telephone calls were made from the office of Salam Rahimi, chairman of the office of the president and Fazel Fazli one of the close aides to the president to a number of candidates who were told that the final decision will be taken by (government). If they (candidates) want to be a lawmaker, then they must consult (government’s) office in Wazir Akbar Khan,” said Saleh.

But, Fazli rejected the allegations.

Panjsher is one of the provinces where all votes will be recounted and investigated.

According to the IEC, result sheets and biometric identification devices from 27 provinces have arrived in Kabul.

“Where we have received a high percentage of complaints, including complaints around the result sheets, (these votes) need to be recounted,” said IEC member Sayed Hafiz Hashemi.

In addition, a special report released on Tuesday by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) describes the deliberate campaign of violence and intimidation conducted by the Taliban to disrupt parliamentary elections, including attacks against civilians and civilian objects, resulting in record high numbers of civilians killed and injured on an election day.

According to the report, The “2018 Elections Violence” report documents how on 20 October and subsequent days when delayed polling took place, UNAMA verified 435 civilian casualties (56 deaths and 379 injured). Most civilian casualties occurred on 20 October, with 388 civilian casualties (52 deaths and 339 injured) from election-related violence. This is the highest level of civilian harm compared to the four previous elections held in Afghanistan. The level of civilian harm linked to parliamentary elections is particularly high compared to previous election cycles when factoring into account the deaths and injuries resulting from electoral-related violence experienced over the preceding months during the voter registration and campaigning periods.   

The report documents grave concerns over the numerous attacks by Anti-Government Elements, mainly Taliban, directed at civilian objects and populated civilian areas during the elections, including attacks against schools used as polling centres.

Based on the report, The Taliban’s actions forced many ordinary Afghans to choose between exercising their right to participate in the political process and risking their own safety.

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