The Independent Election Commission blamed some electoral campaign teams for the delay in its activities, indirectly referring to the vote recount process and the announcement of the preliminary results.
The commission on Saturday said it has invalidated votes from 1,179 polling stations after assessing 2,423 polling stations – the centers in which either biometric devices or memory cards are lost, according to the IEC.
Election campaign teams are demanding the invalidation of all paper ballots and continue to boycott the recount, but the IEC seeks to recount votes from 8,400 polling stations countrywide.
Photos from election centers in Nangarhar province, where the recount is taking place, appear to show IEC officials validating by stamp a number of votes that contain fake stickers. IEC responded:
“We assure our fellow Afghans that the biometric recorded votes are valid for the Election Commission,” Mal reiterated.
“I want to tell the people with courage that candidates and observers have seriously disrupted our operational activities and have slowed down our operations so we could not do our job on time. Those who have created hurdles for our operations are responsible,” said Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang, head of the IEC secretariat Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang.
“We did a special audit. We audited over 11,00 polling stations and we received their information and we invalidated them. We will decide on the remaining disputed votes after the audit,” said Sayed Esmatullah Mal, deputy head of IEC operations.
However, the majority of the election campaign teams are demanding the invalidation of 300,000 disputed votes, which, according to them, have been used in the 8,400 polling stations.
“This is not recounting, this is resuming fraud in favor of a certain campaign team and the Election Commission is taking the election towards a crisis,” said Arif Kayani, a member of the Stability and Convergence campaign team led by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
The Election Commission should have started the vote recount last week but the process was stopped because of protesting campaign teams in Panjshir, Faryab, Jawzjan, Baghlan, Samangan, Badakhshan and Takhar provinces in the center, north and northeastern parts of Afghanistan.
According to the IEC, the vote recount has been completed in 25 provinces.
The announcement of the preliminary results of the Afghan presidential elections was scheduled for Nov. 14, but it has been delayed because of differences over 300,000 disputed votes from over 8,400 polling stations.