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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.