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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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