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With only 12,000 Votes Lead, Second Round Imminent in Afghanistan

Published Jan 08, 2020
Updated Feb 24, 2020

Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) has indicated that 65 % of the complaints that number 16,500 have been provided with documentation.

This would imply that over 10,000 complaints have documents in support of the same while approximately 5000 plus may be rejected on the grounds of lack of adequate supporting evidence.

Meanwhile, Chaman Shah Etemadi, head of the secretariat of the IECC claimed lack of access to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) database in 33 provinces. “Up until now, except for Kabul, all the provinces did not have access… we should provide them with user access– the secretariat vowed to provide accessibility,” added Complaints from five out of 34 provinces have been assessed.

The large numbers that will be examined based on evidence implies that there is a good chance that over 12,000 votes that is the narrow lead that has been established by President Ashraf Ghani may be nullified thus resulting in the need for a second round. This would also imply a delay and uncertainty in Kabul at a time when there are major challenges on the table including intra Afghan talks, capability building of the Afghan national security forces in the wake of the imminent US pull out and now the imbroglio between Iran and the US.

IECC said up to 8,500 complaints from 31 provinces are “serious” and can impact the total number of votes – which is more than 1.8 million. The preliminary presidential election results were announced on December 22 and the IECC received over 16,500 complaints mainly from three campaign teams – of Abdullah Abdullah, President Ghani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

“The first (A) section contains 8,478 complaints, which are about votes and are important, the second (B) section contains 1,021 complaints, which are about persons,” IECC member QasimElyasi said.

According to the IECC, 4,248 complaints are about electoral violations and 6,679 are about differences in biometric-registered and ballot paper-based votes. “Forget about the 8,000 complaints– if 20 complaints are investigated seriously the election is going to the second term,” said former election commission official Daud Ali Najafi as per a report in the Tolonews.