News / Asia

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

An Afghan election worker counts ballots at a polling station in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 14, 2014.
An Afghan election worker counts ballots at a polling station in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 14, 2014.
Ayaz Gul

The internationally supervised, slow-moving audit of 8.1 million Afghan votes from last month’s disputed presidential runoff resumed Sunday, a day after differences between the rival candidates over ballot scrutiny led to its temporary suspension. 

The audit began Thursday under the direct supervision of the United Nations and in the presence of the candidates’ agents, media, and foreign and local observers.

But the process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.

The latest dispute emerged Saturday when differences on how to treat ballot papers not signed “properly” by voters prompted the Independent Election Commission to suspend the audit.

But the commission said with the help of U.N. experts the audit resumed Sunday.

Analysts anticipated problems from the outset because there were no “clearly defined rules.” 

“It felt like the referee had blown his whistle and the football match had started, not almost quite sure what a goal was," said Kate Clark of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), who has been closely monitoring the vote scrutiny.

"So it was bound to cause trouble, because at the moment it is a technical issue, but it is also deeply, deeply political, and actually both teams are looking for how they can maximize their share of the vote,” she said.

Last week U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry persuaded the candidates to agree to a full audit of the contentious runoff vote.   

Candidate Abdullah had alleged “industrial scale fraud” with the support of outgoing President Hamid Karzai to help Ghani, and the Ghani campaign accused Abdullah of vote rigging in his traditional political strongholds.

But in the Kerry-mediated agreement, Abdullah and Ghani committed to abide by the audit results.

“There is significant international community oversight as well as candidate oversight in the process of counting those ballots. The most encouraging thing is both candidates are very responsible they know the consequence of the political transition process and they have agreed to accept the outcome of the ballot with certain parameters and those parameters are now in place," said General Joseph Dunford, U.S. Commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

In comments last week, Dunford said he is optimistic the process - and outcome - will be accepted by both candidates and the Afghan people.
 
Analyst Clark said a key NATO conference is scheduled September 3 to devise Afghanistan's future plans, and the country can barely afford further delays in its much-awaited political transitions.

“NATO wants to get things sorted. It wants the BSA, the Bilateral Security Agreement, signed with America. If President Karzai is still in place, that will not be signed and NATO cannot begin to start planning for post-2014 military support the Afghans need. That is why there is a sense of urgency but of course it depends on the audit and it is going painfully slow at the moment,” Clark said.

Most NATO-led forces will withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

A security agreement between Kabul and Washington to allow a residual foreign force to stay in the country for counterterrorism missions, advising, assisting and equipping Afghan forces, is awaiting signatures by the new Afghan president, because Karzai has refused to do so and left it for his successor.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 22, 2014 1:03 AM
The auditors are sitting on a barren floor that is covered with cardboard. What more needs to be said....................?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs