A meeting on Sunday between election commissioners and campaign teams, political parties, civil society and election observers, in which the electoral standoff was discussed, did not provide solutions to the current standoff.
The election campaign teams discussed issues about the Afghan presidential polls, particularly the disputed 300,000 votes, which, according to campaign teams, have delayed the results announcement multiple times.
Each participant had three minutes to talk but their differing opinions about the disputed votes stymied the televised meeting.
The main demands voiced by multiple campaign teams and observers included the quick announcement of the partial results, the recount of the votes from the remaining seven provinces and a decision about the 300,000 votes, which, according to protesting candidates, are “fraudulent” and should be excluded from the total number of votes that is almost 1.7 million.
Multiple protests have been held during the past week over the disputed votes. The Stability and Convergence team led by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and the Islamic Security and Justice team led by Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar both held protests.
The 300,000 disputed votes are from over 8,400 polling stations. According to the Stability and Convergence campaign team, there are four categories of fraudulent votes:
• 137,630 votes that were flagged for irregularities.
• 102,012 votes that have timestamps indicating they were cast before or after the designated time on election day.
• Votes validated by duplicate photos or photos of photos.
• Votes from 700 devices and memory cards that are lost
Members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said at the meeting that the 300,000 votes are valid.
“We have to work based on a pre-determined legal framework. Some views might emerge that will help the election, but it is not possible at this juncture to include new ideas into the electoral process,” IEC member Mohammad Hanif Danishyar said.
The election commission, however, was accused of taking a “flexible” stance, which led to “interference” into its affairs.
The session included verbal clashes between participants, and Abdullah’s campaign team left the meeting in protest over the commissioners’ inattention to their concerns and questions.
“You (IEC) have decided not to reach a conclusion. We will also say our final words and we will leave (here) to make our decision on what we can do against a clear and evident violation of law,” the deputy head of Abdullah’s campaign team, Assadullah Saadati, said.
Members of some campaign teams called for announcing the election results, even without the votes from the seven provinces.
“The process is being delayed, and we cannot force the recount of remaining votes in seven provinces,” said Daoud Sultanzoi, a member of President Ghani’s State Builder team.
The IEC chairperson Hawa Alam Nuristani said they will continue their discussions on the process.
“We will hold discussions on our friends’ views about the preliminary results and we will share the results with the people from this tribune,” she added.