KABUL (Pajhwok): Election watchdog Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) on Monday said Afghan security forces directly interfered in the Wolesi Jirga elections and prevented its observers to enter polling stations.
TEFA officials alongside representatives from Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistan (ETWA), Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF), Law Learning Center, and Bicycle Racing and Rehabilitation Organization for Afghans with Disabilities addressed a joint press conference here about election problems.
They also offered some suggestions for the presidential election.
Sughra Saadat, TEFA spokesman, told the presser  that security forces, particularly police, had been closely watching voters and forced them to vote for a specific candidate. “We have evidence to prove this.”
The Wolesi Jirga elections were held on October 20 and 21 in 32 provinces of the country, except Kandahar and Ghazni provinces.
The election results from provinces are expected to be announced on November 23 and from Kabul on December 1.
Independent Election Commission (IEC) has announced April 20, 2019 the date to hold the next presidential election.
Election oversight institutes and election observers believe that extending the Wolesi Jirga elections to a second day was against the law and the move led to frauds and mismanagement.
The groups asked the IEC to observe laws and procedures while making decisions and announce the primary results of the Wolesi Jirga elections on schedule.
On the other hand, Naim Asghari, a FEFA member, expressed concern about the presidential election date and said the schedule needed a review.
He said the list of voters should be prepared in cooperation with the Population Registration Department (PRD) and by using original identity cards of people. The list of voters should also be posted at polling stations.
Asghari said preparing voter lists for the presidential election was a difficult job in winter which was approaching.
Naim Ayubzada, TEFA head, said the IEC should prepare real voter lists for the presidential election in cooperation with the Central Statistics Organization (CSO) and by considering problems in the Wolesi Jirga polls.
He said the voter registration process for the presidential ballot should be started earlier in order most of the people could participate.
“The IEC is responsible to announce the Wolesi Jirga elections results on schedule besides defining dates for district council, provincial council elections and Wolesi Jirga polls in Ghazni province, he added.
“The IEC makes decisions based on politics, it is a political issue when elections are delayed. The commission is responsible to act according to the law, the government has no will for holding a Loya Jirga from the past, and that’s why it delayed the district council polls, the IEC also ignored the district council elections and it now wants to delay the provincial council polls too,” he said.
Habibullah Shinwari, ETWA head, said that IEC workers needed serious professional training and education. He also said rules and procedures must be observed during elections.
Roshan Chiran, head of Law Educational Center, said that security forces should be informed about the role of election observers in elections and they should be told to avoid interference in polls.
In a joint statement, the oversight institutes said people participated in great numbers in the Wolesi Jirga elections but the election process faced with some failures.
They blamed most of the problems and challenges on the lack of coordination and poor performance of the IEC.
“Our observations and reports from our observers indicate that there have been many problems and challenges during the parliamentary elections,” the statement added.
Some main problems occurred on the Election Day are as following:

  • Lack of coordination and poor management in controlling polling centers by the Independent Election Commission that caused late opening of many polling centers.
  • Problems caused by voter lists including lack of the lists in a notable number of centers, sending lists to wrong polling stations, missing of names and starting with certain letters such as k, g, a and so on in the lists.
  • The problems caused by biometric devices due to inadequate training and lack of familiarity of the commission staff with correct use of the devices, their failure and lack of effective technical support to quickly resolve the issues.
  • Violation of the Election Law by extending the voting to the second day.
  • Misconduct and violation of electoral law and regulations by some representatives of parties and candidates such as electoral campaigns and forcing and bribing voters to vote in their favor;

Suggestions and recommendations for different stakeholders

  • Respecting the law, regulations and procedures for making important decisions such as the extension of the election for the second day and considering the opinions of all stakeholders in such cases;
  • Paying attention to professional training of IEC staff and their fundamental role in voting process and preventing waste of time;
  • Establishing an effective communication system between observers, monitors and IEC staff at different levels;
  • Revising the delegation of duties and use of teachers as temporary staff of the IEC;
  • Learning from lessons of implementing voter lists and biometric in the future elections.
  • On-time announcement of the primary and final results

To the voters: Proper use of their right to vote as a powerful tool in securing their social and citizenship rights and the fundamental duty of each voter.
To the security forces:

  • Maintaining impartiality in elections process and refrain from working in favor of any candidate;
  • Providing security for monitors and observers as one of the key levers in the electoral process;
  • Training of security forces on the roles, duties and responsibilities of all stakeholders in the election, including observers, monitors, candidates, political parties, and others involved.

To the International Community: Continuing cooperation and financial and technical support to electoral reforms and elections process.
To the political parties, candidates, and their agents:

  • Coordination and cooperation with other observer groups;
  • Training delegates and observers about their responsibilities, rights and authorities;
  • Respecting the elections law and regulations and avoiding violation of them.

To the Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC):
The ECC has a final and critical role in the elections process and its credibility. Taking into consideration the experience of the last elections and the elections day management shortcomings, we strongly recommend that ECC shall:

  • Observe and make any decision based and in line with the electoral approved law, regulations and procedures;
  • Ensure transparency and information sharing to pubic on its procedures and day to day achievements; establish the right and trustful circle to seek advice and consultation if cases of conflict arises; and
  • Share no sensitive information or decision before the final approval that can become the bases of propaganda.

To the future parliamentary representatives: Revising and amendment of the election law and regulations in light of the amassed experiences.


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