News

Afghan Election Recount Begins Before Final, Preliminary Results Released

Multimedia

Audio

Afghan election officials have begun recounting disputed ballots from the August 20 presidential election. The recount amid fraud allegations leaves open the possibility of a second round for the disputed election.

The recount, ordered by the Election Complaints Commission, began this week and comes before the full, election results have been announced.  The final preliminary numbers have been held up because of what the government-run Independent Election Commission describes as "technical problems" with the official forms for the remaining untabulated two percent of ballot boxes.

Noor Mohammed Noor, an IEC spokesman has told VOA's Afghan Service those forms are being sent back to the provinces for clarification.

The nearly complete results show President Hamid Karzai with a commanding lead over former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. The incumbent is currently above the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff election.

But the U.N.-backed Election Complaints Commission is ordering a significant recount of ballots from every province - covering 10 percent of all polling stations.  

Canadian Grant Kippen is the chairman of the ECC, of which three of the five members are appointed by the U.N. Secretary General.

"We have received 2,300 complaints of which we have prioritized those complaints and over 700 have been deemed to be what we call a "Priority A' complaint, of high priority," he said.  "Those are the complaints that we are actually dealing with at this point in time."

VOA News asked Kippen if the on-site investigations of massive ballot box stuffing and other acts of election fraud will take weeks or, as some predict, months to complete.

"I really cannot give you an answer in terms of a definitive date by which we are going to be done," said Kippen.  "We are dealing with the complaints received, this order that we issued last week to the Election Commission.  There is this audit and recount process.  It is difficult to put a timeline to both of these activities at this point."

A runoff would likely have to be delayed until next year if not held very soon to avoid the impending winter, which would not make balloting logistically possible in much of rural Afghanistan.

Presidential candidate Abdullah says if the results are delayed until next year then Afghanistan should have a transitional government put into place.

"I would be more comfortable with the results coming out before the winter, yes, sooner rather than later," he said. "Should that other scenario, which is not preferable, happen, on that I think a sort of caretaker government has to be put together preferably with not Mr. Karzai at the top."

Abdullah says he should also not be the leader of such a temporary administration.

Abudllah's campaign contends that up to one of every four votes cast in last month's election are under suspicion of being tainted.

The foreign policy chief for the European Union, Javier Solana, has told reporters in Brussels that while he would like to see the process go faster the most important aspect is to have credible results in the end.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir says the fraud allegations cannot be ignored and his European counterparts will insist the complaints be thoroughly scrutinized.

Many Western countries initially hailed the election as a victory for the democratic process.  The Taliban, ousted from power by a U.S. invasion in 2001, had vowed to disrupt balloting.

The United States has the largest military force in the country among the 42-nation coalition fighting the eight-year-old war against the insurgents.  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs