News / Asia

Fraud Allegations Threaten Historic Afghan Political Transition

Afghanistan's presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 15, 2014.
Afghanistan's presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 15, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
Afghanistan’s frontrunner presidential hopeful says the ballot counting process should stop, alleging widespread vote fraud.  The political turmoil threatens to derail a transfer of power from one democratically elected government to the next.
Millions of Afghans turned out June 14th to participate in the country’s first presidential runoff election, defying violent attempts by Taliban insurgents to disrupt the voting.
The runoff pitted the winner of the first round, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, against the number two vote getter, former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.
But speaking at a hurriedly called news conference Wednesday in Kabul, Abdullah, announced he is boycotting the vote-counting process because the Independent Election Commission has failed to address his complaints.  He went accused top officials of the commission of helping what he described as blatant and mass fraud.

"We do not have trust over the commission in their conduct.  We do emphasize on the legitimacy of the process and that is for the legitimacy of the process that we suspend our engagement with the commission," said  Abdullah. "We have asked our monitors to leave the counting centers of the commission in Kabul as well as in the provinces, and we are asking for the counting process to be stopped immediately.”

Abdullah cautioned that if the commission continues counting ballots it will have no legitimacy.  He says he has been repeatedly demanding the election commission remove one of its top officials for directly interfering in the vote.

The presidential hopeful alleged the turnout figure announced by the Commission was inflated, suggesting it was meant to help his rival.  

Abdullah said an option to resume the counting process could be the formation of a U.N.-supervised committee in which members of the rival presidential candidates are represented.

A spokesman for the Election Commission says it will look into Abdullah’s complaints, but the counting process will not be halted.

In a message on Twitter, Ghani has said his campaign "condemns every vote of fraud" and if anyone has evidence of fraud they must refer it to the national Electoral Complaint Commission.

The former finance minister added his observers will continue to do their job and remain engaged with the Election Commission as the local and international observers doing.    

Lawmaker Fawzia Koofi, a leading women’s rights activist in Afghanistan, tells VOA that the political crisis is a worrying development for war-shattered Afghans.     

“If there is no clean and clear result of the election in a transparent manner that could convince both candidates, people obviously will lose trust over elections especially we will be witnessing parliamentary elections in three months time," said Koofi. "If this election is not very clear in terms of the fraud allegations and looking at the fraud allegations and the demands of front candidates in terms of bringing more transparency in the process, it could certainly undermine the trust over institutions.”

The winner of the election will replace President Hamid Karzai who has led the nation since the U.S.-led military intervention ousted the Taliban in 2001, but constitutional term limits prevented him from seeking another term.  The Election Commission, according to the official timetable, will announce preliminary results on July 2, while the final results are due July 22.  

All U.S.-led foreign combat troops plan to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year and a trouble-free political transition is considered crucial for an orderly winding down of the military mission.

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Comment Sorting
by: safi from: usa
June 18, 2014 10:06 PM
U voted for karzie and know you voted for that big loser Abdullah. That's mean you are fraud too. Their are 80% pashtoo in think Abdullah will win,, keep dreaming,, Abdullah is the biggest fraud in Afghanistan. Like karzie was and is know

by: Imal from: Afghanistan
June 18, 2014 12:00 PM
Dear my lovely country man Mr Haroon. You know why and what made you to post your comment here you know the answer and I want to also bring it before you that it was the democratic gains of our mother country during the last decade and as a result of which your so empowered and informed citizen using the freedom of speech you are now engaging in civil discourse, so thanks to Democarcy and in order to have furthered in our society, lets ask and urge the two candidates to accept the elections results.

It would be unforgettable mistake of any candidate to make this new baby of democracy fall apart rather they should help move forward in our country. Thanks for the international support and the democracy which can't be under any circumstances sacrifice for the sake of few dirty politicians who were once in the recent history of the country were playing with the guns and involved in totalitarian rule.

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
June 18, 2014 10:19 AM
I got his behalf of statements by national TVs. he clarified about the votes counting process. as a voter and citizen of Afghanistan it is unacceptable for me to accept a fraud president. why? in 2004 my mother and my father both had received their voting cards to vote for president Karzai. when I got my age eligibility I received and voted to President Karzai due his good relation with international community (USA, Canada, European countries, and Asia countries) this year my mother, father, me, and my two sisters were eligible to vote for their desire candidate.

We got a big lesson that Karzai was and is not a trusted person for all people of Afghanistan and international community. he had two candidate (Zalmai Rasoul, and Ashraf Ghani) and he supported directly to get win to reject security agreement with NATO, ISAF, and USA troops at first provision by Karzai to these two candidates. besides Ashraf Ghani want to rule the Taliban and Dr. Najib member of ex-Communist regime in Afghanistan and several times he defended from China. Indian. Russia even UK policies in his statements in TVs Interviews. our 5 family members voted to Dr. Abdullah "Abdullah" because we watched that he try to strong the relation between international community and Afghanistan to avoid Afghanistan from more sanctions (Economic, Security, and bilateral agreements).

Supposedly if Ashraf Ghani win the election by fraud votes what happen? first Afghanistan will be lonely if he accepts Karzai condition to reject Bilateral Security Agreement with NATO, ISAF, and USA troops. second all youth feel that any illiterate person who go to outside of Afghanistan and study for 2 years at any section may win presidential palace as a president. no youth may remain in Afghanistan. even I'm ready to leave Afghanistan and enter to another country as a refugee to pass my time and feel that I maybe a boss, minister, or as a president after 30 years. what it impact if every young boy leave Afghanistan? Afghanistan lose it's energy. Afghanistan lose it's fund when a young boy leave Afghanistan he may keep more money with himself and carry to another country. Afghanistan may lose it's real labor force. Afghanistan may lose it's democracy process. next five years no candidate may candidate himself on future. if we see all sides may damage.

I request as very young boy from Mr. Ghani to follow the path of Dr. Abdullah "Abdullah" that he passed up the election to Karzai. this is your round to pass up the election to Abdullah. and we should watch what he can do on going five years.

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