A number of Afghan election monitoring groups have warned that the runoff round of this year's presidential race could face increased fraud on the part of candidates so long as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) have staff members supporting one or the other candidate and engaging in fraud themselves.
Naeem Ayoubzada, Chairman of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), in particular, leveled claims against the ECC, which he said was plagued by poor management and division over the candidates.He attributed these flaws to a supposed failure by the ECC to separate legitimate votes from fraudulent ones in the first round.
"Not asking the candidates about the fraud they did in first round will encourage them to do more in the runoff," Ayoubzada said.
Before the announcement of final results, which set in motion plans for a runoff, the ECC revealed that the April 5 elections faced major cases of fraud around the country, ultimately amounting to 114,000 votes being invalidated. ECC officials have defended their decision making during the first round.
"We addressed complaints based on valid documents and evidence," ECC spokesman Nader Mohseni said.
The IEC has also said it met with the two candidates following the announcement of final results and urged them not to support fraud in the runoff, warning them of the potential consequences.
Thousands of IEC employees were found to have been involved in fraud during this first round in April. Although the IEC has reportedly cleaned house, and taken on new employees, those that were found responsible have yet to see any legal repercussions.
The IEC has also said it submitted a list of government officials who are accused of meddling in the election process, though no actions have yet been taken by the Attorney General or Presidential Palace.
31 May 2014 18:46
Source: Tolo News