KABUL - Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) Monday sought to address the backlash over its decision to use the old voter registration system and voting cards, saying that it had no other choice but to bow to the government's demands.
After repeatedly pushing for new voter registration and voting cards, the IEC caved last week to pressure from the government, revealing that it will use the old system and cards in next year's presidential election.
Previously, the IEC had argued that the old system will pave the way for fraudulent voting.
"If our previous plans were accepted, as we promised, we could guarantee the transparency of the election but we didn't have any other alternative," IEC chief Fazil Ahmad Manawi told TOLOnews.
"We have some other measures that can guarantee transparency, but one thing is clear: we cannot implement our programs [as we want] and we don't want to be fighting with the government. We want go forward in harmony and the election should be held in a transparent environment," he added.
Manawi dismissed rumors that he was not part of the IEC decision to declare the old voting cards will be valid.
"This is an institution and as a institution, it decided. I was on a trip [abroad] but all the matters were discussed with me and there was nothing done in opposition in my absence," he said.
President Hamid Karzai last fortnight spoke out against the IEC demand for a new voter registration saying there was not enough budget – and possibly not enough time – to implement the plan.
The draft election law has also been stalled since lawmakers and senators differed over the presence of international commissioners on the board of the Electoral Complaints Commission. (Tolo News)