News / Asia

EU Observers Want Deeper Afghan Election Probe

FILE- Chief Observer of EU Election Assessment Team, Thijs Berman speaks during a press conference in Kabul, April 7, 2014.
FILE- Chief Observer of EU Election Assessment Team, Thijs Berman speaks during a press conference in Kabul, April 7, 2014.
Ayaz Gul

European election observers are urging Afghanistan to broaden the scope of its investigation into vote fraud to ensure a credible outcome of the presidential election.  Meanwhile, the campaign of presidential hopeful Abdullah Abdullah says it will reject preliminary results due on Monday if election authorities fail to address its complaints of rigging. 

The Afghan Independent Election Commission this week was set to release initial results from the June 14 presidential run-off.   Instead, it decided to delay the announcement until Monday. The commission cited the ongoing audit of ballots in nearly 2,000 polling stations where an exceptionally high turnout surprised many.

The leader of the European Union election assessment team, Thijs Berman, told reporters in Kabul Thursday that the number of polling stations under investigation “significantly limits the possibility to detect irregularities if there were any.”

He added that while there was “sufficient worrying data” that warranted the audit, the investigators also need to examine complaints about an exceptionally high score for one candidate or surprising differences between female and male voters in the same polling center.

"Our conclusion is that if you would use these factors as well and investigate all nearly 23,000 polling stations in the country on the basis of these factors you may well end up concluding that over 6,000 polling stations in the country need thorough investigation ...I have grave concerns on these high figures and insist on the necessity to enlarge the audit as these figures are so high,” said Berman.

Berman rejected suggestions his mission was interfering in the Afghan election process, insisting its conclusions were strictly based on figures provided by the election commission.

The run-off election pitted former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah against former finance minister Ashraf Ghani.  While Abdullah won more votes in the first round, Ghani’s aides claim he has beaten his rival by a margin of one million votes.

With official results expected on Monday, Abdullah’s campaign cites what it called “industrial-scale fraud” allegedly orchestrated by outgoing President Hamid Karzai and the election commission to rig the vote in favor of Ghani, charges officials have rejected.

The commission has already met some of Abdullah’s demands. But his campaign’s chief spokesman, Nasrullah Baryali Arsalai, on Thursday warned that it would reject any results announced before all their concerns were addressed.

He said, “Unless dirty votes are separated from clean votes, any results announced on Monday or in the coming few days will not be acceptable to us and we will reject them as illegitimate.”

EU observers' chief Berman emphasized the need for a credible outcome of the presidential election.

“Obviously, it is necessary and would be highly desirable that both candidates agree on a way out of the current deadlock in this electoral process, a way out that leads to a credible outcome of these elections and that would lead to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan,” he said.

The protracted political impasse has undermined hopes for a smooth transfer of power from one democratically elected president to another. Berman hoped that broadening the investigation into alleged vote fraud would not cause undue delays and the new president of Afghanistan will be inaugurated on August 2, the official day set by Karzai.  

While Ghani had been pressing for the results to be announced on time he has expressed his willingness to work with Abdullah to find a way out of the crisis.  But the candidates have yet to meet one-on-one despite public commitments.​ 

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More