Problematic Choice: Legitimacy of the Election and the Mismanagement of the Electoral Commissions
The large presence of the people of Afghanistan at the polling stations during Election Day gave the Election process legitimacy. In addition, The Reform and Partnership team's unrivaled campaign created a tide that resulted into its success during Election Day. From the minute our people stood in the long lines and started voting for this historic election, the leaders and members of our team collectively discussed and exchanged views on how the votes of our people could be defended. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the candidate of the Reform and Partnership team, in his first press conference after the polling stations and centers closed, praised the mass participation of the people and called it a historic event which never had precedence in Afghanistan's history. He congratulated the people of Afghanistan and the international community for assisting us. Additionally, he thanked the security forces and the civil society organizations. Despite the fraud and violations, the Reform and Partnership team from Election Day till now has sought to protect the legitimacy of the election by identifying it as an important principle and a red line for our national interest.
The major obstacle that kept us from protecting the legitimacy of this process was the mismanagement of the electoral commissions. The unilateral ratification of the electoral law, the biased appointment of the commission leaders, the shortage of ballot papers, opening the polling stations late, lack of transparency during the counting and auditing process of the votes, engineering the results, irresponsive and biased behavior of the Complaints Commission in the provinces are examples of the mismanagement and failures of the commissions that has unfortunately damaged the reputation of our election.
From the beginning, our team took a clear and serious stance in tackling many of the problems the commissions were causing and exposing the potential perpetuators of fraud and mismanagement. On the other hand, protecting the legitimacy and not letting these problems overshadow this made our team's work difficult than expected.
Despite the pressures experienced, the leadership of the Reform and Partnership team from the start of the electoral process emphasized on the legitimacy of the election and without exposing and reveal anything to the mass media, the team numerously contacted the commission through every means possible and stressed how they should act responsibly and respect the constitution and laws of the country. They should have done their job and objectives transparently, professionally, and justly in order to have guarenteed legitimacy and stability for the future government. Unfortunately, after these attempts to bring the leadership of these commissions in line and to set them towards the right direct failed, our team decided that in order to protect the legitimacy of the election, we should reveal their mis-management to the mass media and civil society.
Once more, we are asking for the commissions to take our justified and documented concerns into consideration and it is still not late to fix and solve their inadequacy and mismanagement of this important process. If the commissions fail to implement this, then they will further lose their credibility, the democratic process will be damaged, and they will be responsible for any consequence because the patience and tolerance of this team is not limitless.