IECC: one week to decide 6,000 appeals

KABUL (TOLO News): The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) has registered more than 6,200 appeals from campaign teams, with most of them referring to the 300,000 controversial votes, the chairperson of the commission, Zuhra Bayan Shinwari, said on Tuesday.

Shinwari told reporters that members of the commission have not made any decisions on the controversial votes despite an election commissioner on Monday saying they–the IEC–are expecting the IECC to announce its decision. 
Most of the appeals have been registered in Paktia, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Khost, Laghman, Paktia, Kunar, Helmand and Ghor provinces.
The 6,293 appeals registered with the IECC according to province:

•    Kabul 505 appeals

•    Kapisa 42

•    Logar 132

•    Nangarhar 818

•    Laghman 178

•    Panjshir 3

•    Baghlan 80

•    Bamiyan 6

•    Balkh 6

•    Ghazni 86

•    Paktika 485

•    Paktia 853

•    Khost 772

•    Kunar 225

•    Nuristan 2

•    Badakhshan 3

•    Kunduz 14

•    Samangan 2

•    Sar-e-Pul 3

•    Ghor 142

•    Daikundi 20

•    Uruzgan 2

•    Zabul 28

•    Kandahar 1,573

•    Faryab 4

•    Helmand 215

•    Herat 16

•    Farah 18

•    Nimroz 60

No appeals have been registered with IECC offices in Parwan, Maidan Wardak, Takhar, Jawzjan or Badghis provinces.

IECC officials said the categorization of the appeals will conclude by the end of this week and then it will make a decision on the controversial votes.

Based on preliminary information, most of the appeals are about votes that have been cast before and after the polling date, about the backup data of biometric devices, and the votes for which biometric devices– or memory cards of the devices–are lost.

“The commission has not made a decision in this regard because the appeals are being classified and categorized,” Shinwari said.

“More than 6,000 appeals have been registered which means there are 6,000 files,” IECC member Qutbuddin Roidar said. “They will come under five major categories. These categories are the 102,000 votes with a timestamp outside legal voting times, 137,000 disputed votes, and votes from 2,423 polling stations, and differences in biometric and result sheet information.”

The presidential elections were held on September 28. The preliminary results of the polls were announced on December 22 after multiple delays in which the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani narrowly surpassed the margin for a winner in the election. His closest rival and his power-sharing partner in the national unity government, Abdullah Abdullah, got over 39% of the votes. The total turnout was 1.8 million.

“This needs a decision. It means that we should announce our decision before the votes are sent for recounting,” IECC spokesman Qasim Elyasi said.

“All the appeals are from three election campaign teams: Stability and Convergence, State Builder and Islamic Peace and Justice,” IECC member Qutbuddin Roidar said.

The IECC received 16,500 complaints mainly from three campaign teams from December 23 to 25 last year. It completed the assessment of the complaints in mid-January.

After the assessment of all the complaints, the IECC has decided to recount votes from more than 5,000 polling stations – a decision about which the election commission has considerations and wants clarification from the complaints commission.

“A decision should be made, or they should leave the institution (the IECC),” former head of the IECC, Abdul Sattar Saadat said.

Now, the IECC has at least one week to make a final decision on the appeals so that the final results of the election can be announced.