The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Friday it will not announce the results of the presidential election until seven provincial offices currently closed by Abdullah Abdullah’s campaign team are opened.
Despite serious objections by Abdullah’s Stability and Convergence team and many others, the IEC restarted the vote recount this past Sunday,
Officials at the IEC say the process has concluded in 24 provinces, is ongoing in three, and has not started in seven.
The deputy head of the IEC, Esmatullah Mal, said the commission will decide about vote invalidation once the recount process has ended.
“If we had the results from these 24 provinces, we could proceed with the ‘legally-mandated process’ and in one or two days we would announce the preliminary results,” said Mal.
Meanwhile, the Stability and Convergence Campaign said that as long as the “legal” demands of the presidential candidates to invalidate non-biometric votes are not accepted, the IEC's provincial offices will remain closed.
Mohammad Mohaqiq, who is a member of Abdullah’s team, insisted that the IEC is working for Ashraf Ghani's team and those who have committed election fraud should be brought to court.
“It is very obvious that it is fraud, and it is in fact a national betrayal … The organizers of such a fraud should be tried as national traitors,” Mohaqiq added.
The main argument is over 300,000 disputed votes currently included in the total, which the electoral teams insist are not valid.
Therefore, a number of electoral teams, including Abdullah Abdullah's team, have boycotted the recount process and their observers are not present in the counting process.
The Afghan presidential election was held on September 28, but the IEC has still not announced the outcome of the preliminary results.
On Thursday, council of presidential candidates, consisting of ten elector teams, warned that whatever the outcome of the election will be, they will not accept it.
Election observers say that the recount will not be valid because the election observers from the campaign team are not present at the provincial IEC offices.
But, Yusuf Rashid, the executive director of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, said that the IEC had to act:
“They (IEC) had to ... eliminate ambiguity and start the counting and auditing process.”