Sunday, October 22, 2017

37 Days Prior to Election Day: Statement on the Election Process

STATEMENT ON THE ELECTION PROCESS BY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, STAFFAN DE MISTURA

12 August 2010 – The Wolesi Jirga elections are now only a little over one month away – and we can see the country’s attention focusing on this event. Campaigning of the significantly large number of candidates has become more active and I am particularly encouraged by the active campaigns of women candidates. We maintain complete neutrality in this process, but we are committed to helping the Afghans have the best possible elections, which they deserve.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) is continuing to operate according to its electoral timetable. The last of the sensitive materials (ballot papers) arrived in the country last week. Operationally and administratively the IEC is on track. United Nations support to the elections has been as we promised – effective but with a light footprint in deference to the growing capacity of Afghanistan’s electoral authorities.

I want to highlight some challenges ahead – the primary challenge being elections security which could be the real spoiler of the whole process. We have already seen widespread intimidation with regard to female candidates, the killing of three candidates and other violence directed against a number of other candidates. This is unacceptable and we call upon the Afghan security forces to be on heightened vigilance over the coming two months.

We all know that security challenges will be a significant obstacle and we must ensure that poor security in parts of the country is not used to manipulate the votes of the people.

I note that the IEC has received the assessment from the security institutions on the polling centre locations and that they are now conducting their own verification to ensure the final list is a realistic one. This will be completed on 15 August. We are in agreement with the IEC that it is of paramount importance, including for operational reasons, and for the credibility of the elections that they be in a position to make this public by 18 August. Making this list public one month in advance of the elections is essential for the transparency of the electoral process. It will also show a marked difference and progress compared with the same stage of last year’s Presidential elections.

I am also pleased to learn that the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has undertaken to recruit, train and deploy additional female body searchers to ensure the security of female polling stations. It is imperative now that no further time is lost in this regard.

I want to encourage election observation missions – both international and national. I also encourage candidates to register their own candidate and party agents – these agents can make a significant impact in observing the whole election process.

The Electoral Complaints Commission has suggested that the voter registration exercise might be extended. The IEC, however, has taken the position not to extend this process any further. We fully support the decision of the IEC and its continuing efforts to take difficult decisions aimed at mitigating fraud and other electoral irregularities.

My final message is to the voters themselves. These elections are your elections. Follow all the candidates’ campaigns and their political messages to ensure that you can make an informed vote on 18 September. Your vote is the final decision maker in this important process in determining your country’s future.

Strategic Communication and Spokespersons Unit

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

Kabul, Afghanistan

Tel: +93 (0) 79 000 6121; +39 083 124 6121; +1 212 963 2668 ext 6121

http://unama.unmissions.org

Karzai edges ahead in Afghan poll

initial counting from Afghanistan’s presidential election shows incumbent Hamid Karzai with a slight lead.

With 10% of the ballots counted, the election commission said Mr Karzai had 212,927 votes, compared to 202,889 for ex-Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

However, there remain many allegations of fraud, and the commission is investigating almost 800 complaints.

Final results are not expected for several weeks. A candidate needs more than 50% of votes to avoid a run-off.

Shortly after the figures were announced, reports came in of a large explosion in the southern city of Kandahar, followed by gunfire. There were reports of casualties but no further details.

‘Too early to call’

The Independent Election Commission said that so far 524,444 valid votes had been counted, with Mr Karzai on 40.6% and Mr Abdullah on 38.7%.
Ramazan Bashardost has 53,740 votes so far and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is fourth on 15,143.

Only 2% of votes in Kandahar province have been counted and none in Helmand. Mr Karzai is expected to do well in both southern provinces.

electiongraph

Other leading candidates: Ramazan Bashardost 53,740 (10.2%) Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai 15,143 (2.9%) Winning candidate needs more than 50% of votes to avoid a run-off

The commission says it will release more results over the next few days.

Before the announcement of the first results, Mr Abdullah called on Afghans to react calmly.

“I’m urging Afghans… to be patient and to show responsibility. I think that the people don’t want to resort to violence,” he said.

Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, said on Tuesday the initial results were not conclusive.

“You don’t call it with 10%… it’s too early to call,” he said.

The BBC’s Ian Pannell in Kabul says any preliminary claims about the result must be viewed with caution in the light of the allegations of fraud, corruption and ballot-stuffing and concerns about low voter turnout, especially in the south.

The election commission is also being urged to wait until the official adjudicators, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), completes its investigation.

There are almost 800 complaints of fraud and irregularities and, out of these, 54 are considered to be very serious.

Mr Abdullah has said that he has evidence that voting was widely rigged in favour of Mr Karzai. Mr Abdullah said he had submitted the allegations to the ECC.

Another leading presidential candidate, Mirwais Yasini, told the BBC that workers from his campaign discovered about 800 ballots with ticks next to his name thst he believes had been discarded from the ballot box.

The evidence has been handed to the ECC.

Afghan and Western officials have declared last Thursday’s poll a success, despite concerns about the turnout, especially in the insurgency-wracked south.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said there were more than 400 insurgent attacks on election day, which would make it one of the most violent days in Afghanistan since 2001.

Mr Holbrooke said on Sunday that allegations of fraud were to be expected.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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Permanent Mission of Afghanistan