Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, August 26th, 2019

The Most Controversial Election Concluded in Afghanistan

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The Most Controversial Election  Concluded in Afghanistan

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has finally, after almost seven months, announced the most controversial election result in Afghanistan. According to article 83 of the constitution, the Wolesi Jirga’s term ended on 1 Sartan 1394 (22 June 2015) but the election result has finally been announced on 14 May, 2019 while the parliament is still incomplete as the Ghazni representatives are not present in the national house. The Ghazni province election is planned for 28 September 2019 (together with the presidential and provincial council elections). The last but the most controversial part of gradual result announcement was of Kabul and Paktia provinces.
IEC and ECC officials confessed there were many problems with the Kabul votes but finally approved the results based on 88 per cent of the result sheets from the election days on 16 May that it had obtained documents showing that only 70 of the result sheets had been available and the remaining 30 % had been missing).While a single vote can change the election result, so the absence of 12 (or 30) % of them is seriously questionable.  Muhammad Qasem Elyasi, the secretary and spokesman for the ECC who was himself a candidate from Kabul, as report quoted told Etilaat Roz on 12 May that 12 per cent of the Kabul votes had been missing and that the most likely option was that the final results for Kabul would be announced based on 88 per cent of the votes. The ECC told media on 7 May that it had sent its decision to the IEC. It then took the IEC a week to finally announce the Kabul and Paktia results on 14 May.
Thus, According to some observing groups of the Kabul elections, the most widespread election fraud had been committed during the recount process of the Kabul votes and this needed serious attention. In any case, the final result has been announced but it turned out to be the same list that the former election commissions had primarily announced.  In this list, only four people have been changed from the original result, and the rest were the ones that included the list on the primary list. In the case of displacement of these four individuals, there are so many sayings that seem a part of them might be truth.
Based on the IEC’s final announcement the 33 candidates who have won the highest votes in Kabul are as follows: Ajmal Rahmani, Abdul Qayoum Khair Khwa, Khan Agha Rezaee, Mullah Muhammad Khan Ahmadi, Feda Mohammad Ulfat Saleh, Ahmad Jawed Jaihoun, Amanullah Guzar, Amir Gul Shaheen, Ghulam Hussain Naseri, Ramazan Bashardost, Syed Mohammad Mohammadi, Allah Gul Mujahid, Khan Mohammad Wardak, Mir Afghan Safi, Najibullah Naser, Habibulrahman Sayyaf, Anwar Khan Oryakhail, Abdul Razeq Istalefi, Tawfiq Wahdat, Zergy Habibi, Mohammad Nayeem Wardak, Hafizullah Jalili, Orfanullah Orfan, Abdullah Kalimzai Wardak, Fatima Nazari, Nazeefa Zakee, Shinkay Karokhail, Mursal Nabizada, Fawzia Naseryar Guldarai, Robina Jalali, Maryam Sama, Zuhra Noorzai, and Parween Durrani.
Two days after release of this list and final announcement, an oath-taking ceremony was held in the presidential place. During the oath-taking ceremony for new parliament members of Kabul and Paktia provinces, President Ashraf Ghani said the country’s parliamentary election was a catastrophe in the democratic processes. “Unfortunately, it was a catastrophe. Having the results of the elections delayed for seven months was unprecedented in the history of democratic systems,” the President said. Ghani called on new lawmakers to prioritize the amendment of election law in order to avoid the repetition of such a disaster in the future elections.

In addition, he said the absence of Ghazni province representatives in the parliament is a huge gap. Currently, Ghazni has no representative in the parliament because the elections did not happen there. On the other hand, the constituency dispute remains unresolved and may yet resurface once the IEC begins voter registration there. According to article 104 of the electoral law, if elections are postponed or suspended, members of the elected bodies (for instance the Wolesi Jirga) should continue to serve in their positions until the holding of a new election and announcement of its results. So far, according to an MP from Ghazni, ten out of the 11 MPs remain but the eleventh, Chaman Shah Etemadi, was appointed the new head of the ECC secretariat.
By and large, the game of election with full of ambiguity and fraud has apparently been concluded, but it has seriously damaged the prestige of government, people and democratic process in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the election itself was a success for the country’s political system completion, specifically the legislature. On the other hand, the members of the 16th parliament of the country over the course of their eight years had become the mafia of power and wealth. They were unmanageable and sometimes overtly blamed for corruption. For this reason, it was a success but what happened to the elections and the people’s vote was really catastrophic and disappointing.
Thereof, some of the international friends have welcomed the finalization of the Kabul Parliamentary election results. The Embassy of the United States in Kabul said as a report quoted, “The completion of this election and the seating of the full parliament is an important achievement for the new IEC and the ECC, and of Afghanistan’s democratic process.” We urge the IEC to turn its attention to preparing for the September presidential election, including putting forward a budget request aligned with an appropriate operational plan, hiring and training sufficient staff to complete voters registration and preparations, and coordinating with the security ministries.”

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

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