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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid