IEC chief calls for patience on vote recount

KABUL (TOLO News): The chairperson of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Hawa Alam Nuristani, called for patience from presidential candidates who oppose the vote recount which began on Nov. 9.

The votes of “8,494 polling stations, out of a total of 26,580,” will be recounted, according to the head of the IEC secretariat, Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang.

Along with the Stability and Convergence team led by Abdullah Abdullah, the Council of Presidential Candidates – which includes 10 out of 18 presidential runners – also boycotted the vote recount process.

All those candidates who are against the vote recount process have demanded the sorting out of “fraudulent votes” ahead of any further move.

Nuristani said some election campaign teams have prevented the vote recount process in 15 provinces.

Answering critics, she stressed that the election results will be based on biometric registered votes.

“I call on all friends to give time to the Election Commission to do the vote recount—to do its work and announce the results at the earliest opportunity,” Nuristani said.

The IEC news conference was disrupted when Commissioner Maulana Mohammad Abdullah sought to discuss a letter from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to the Election Commission accusing Abdullah of having “threatened” one of his colleagues at a meeting.

Speaking over protests by both the head and deputy head of the Election Commission, Abdullah talked about the contents of the letter.

Abdullah said the United Nations has been silent on “illegal” decisions by the Election Commission, and he said he has been asked by the IEC not to talk with the media for 15 days.

“Allow me to speak–do not violate my freedom of speech. Behind closed doors, there are rumors about my life and death. Allow me to read my letter. You do not have this right. You do not have the right to talk against the freedom of speech. If you have any objections, make them later,” Abdullah said.

The letter is signed by Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN chief in Afghanistan, and its stated intent is “to formally express the United Nations’ serious concern over the behavior of Commissioner Maulana Abdullah in a recent Commission meeting on November 5.”

The meeting, according to the letter, was attended by a number of UNSEP technical advisors and two international non-voting commissioners, as well as other IEC commissioners and senior secretariat officials.

Commission Abdullah was taken to task for his interruption:

“The reading of this letter by Mr. Maulana was not on the agenda. We had good issues in the agenda,” said Esmatullah Mal, the deputy head of the IEC.

“Commissioners are not able to manage a news conference. This affects people’s expectations,” said Ali Adili, deputy head of Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Nasir Nasirizada, an observer from the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan, commented on the IEC:

“The current situation within the Commission is a type of election deadlock and the Commission has not been able to respect the voting process within a legal and legitimate framework,” she said.

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