News / Asia

Afghanistan's Audit of 23,000 Ballot Boxes Underway

Afghan election commission workers sorts ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off votes at a election commission office in Kabul, July 18, 2014.
Afghan election commission workers sorts ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off votes at a election commission office in Kabul, July 18, 2014.
VOA News

U.S. officials say Afghan and international officials hope to audit 1,000 ballot boxes per day, as each of the eight million votes cast in Afghanistan's runoff election are examined for legitimacy.

U.S. Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Daniel Feldman told reporters in Washington Friday that so far more than 133 ballot boxes of a total of 23,000 have been audited since the process began on Thursday.

Feldman said the audit will ramp up once the full regiment of international observers are in place in Kabul. In addition to the domestic and foreign observers, representatives of presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, United Nations officials, and media representatives will also be taking part in the process.

In a deal mediated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Abdullah and Ghani agreed to a full U.N.-supervised audit of the entire runoff poll and committed to abide by the final results.  

“[C]learly what Secretary Kerry produced during his visit to Kabul was just about in the category of miraculous,” said Ryan Crocker, who served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq in an interview with VOA.  “And I think it demonstrates yet again how crucial a sustained, high level U.S. role is in the complex political system of Afghanistan, and indeed in Iraq where conflict is also raging.

Millions of Afghans took part in the first round of presidential elections April 5, defying threats of violence by the Taliban while election authorities claimed the turnout was even higher in the June 14 runoff vote.  Abdullah led the first round but trails in preliminary second round results that put Ghani in the lead by about one million votes.
 
Abdullah rejected the outcome, accusing President Hamid Karzai, election authorities and the Ghani campaign of colluding against him to rig the vote that could lead to the first peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history.

Feldman says under the U.S.-brokered deal, both candidates have agreed to immediately abide by the results of the audit, with the winner serving as president and establishing a national unity government. The deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan would not confirm whether that government will include the creation of a prime minister post alongside that of the president, and said the framework must be put forth by the Afghans.

"There will be challenges ahead," Crocker told VOA.  "First, the audit process itself will have to be and have to be perceived to be, fair and transparent by both candidates.  And both candidates will have to accept the outcome. There will also clearly be challenges in defining exactly what the role of this new executive is going to be.  That was all left to be determined.  And I imagine we will have some pretty sporty conversations among Afghans as to what power he will actually have. "

Feldman also said he could not give an end date to the auditing process, but hoped it would not be too much longer than the previously scheduled inauguration date of August 2 that has since been delayed.

The U.S. official also noted that current Afghan President Karzai worked closely with Secretary Kerry to broker the deal that includes both a technical and political framework for the election process.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs