Electoral observers have reacted with surprise to the recent contradictory statements by members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) over issues around the upcoming presidential elections.
In her latest statement, Hawa Alam Nuristani, the head of the IEC, said that the commission had registered over 400,000 new voters between June 8 and 15 while the commission’s spokesman has put the figure at 41,000 voters during this period.
Meanwhile, a commissioner of the IEC on Sunday said that the country’s election management body is grappling with a series of problems that need to be tackled or at least reduced.
On the election budget, IEC chief announced that they had finalized $146 million draft budget for the elections. But later on, head of the IEC secretariat put the amount to $150 million. However, a commissioner from the IEC dismissed both statements on the election budget and announced a third figure about the budget.
“Our total budget for all elections is estimated $146 million,” said Nuristani.
“We are purchasing biometric devices and the transportation of biometric devices which is included in the budget. The exact amount is estimated up to $150 million,” said Habiburrahman Nang, head of IEC secretariat.
“The exact budget for the elections is estimated $149.8 million,” said IEC commissioner Rahima Zarifi.
According to the observers, the IEC has finalized $146 million as the budget for the elections.
“This harms public trust and the democratic process and a national process. The IEC leadership and the secretariat are not coming up on a single remark,” said Marwa Amini, spokeswoman for Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
Although 70 percent of the voting centers in Ghazni province remain closed due to threats, the IEC offers a surprising figure of those registered for voting in the area.
Afghanistan’s presidential election is scheduled for September 28.