Auditing Process Resumes

News - Afghanistan


The auditing process, which was halted temporarily on Wednesday so that presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai can discuss upon a criterion behind invalidating votes, resumed Thursday morning.

A firm consensus has not been reached in the criteria for voiding votes, but both candidates have asked that the United Nations (UN) assist in the process to avoid lengthening the election activity.

In addition to the lack of unanimity, another issue that created a drawback in the auditing process was the presence of a foreign observer from Abdullah's camp who did not have proper documentation to be present during the inspection.

While the process has been moving forward at a snail-like pace, both electoral teams are optimistic of the outcome expressing that the slow progress is not important, but rather the transparency of the procedure is much greater.

"I believe our concerns are not the auditing process, but the transparency of the procedure," said Fazl Ahmad Manawi, a member of Abdullah's team. "Transparency is more important than the speed of the process."

A member of Ghani-Ahmadzai's team, Halim Fedaye, said that "the work is moving forward in a satisfactory manner." He adds that they have asked their "colleagues to take in consideration the rules and regulations of the procedure and follow thru with it."

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor on Thursday morning said that ballot boxes from 19 provinces have arrived in Kabul. That is a total of 13,619 ballot boxes out of the total 22,778, which makes for 60 percent votes nationwide, that the IEC has received so far.

He added that since the start of the audit procedure a total of 1,027 ballot boxes have been inspected.

"So far we have 160 people, both national and international observers, working in the audit process that complete their duties in two shifts; first half of the day 80 people come and then the second half of the day the other 80 arrive," as Noor explained the auditing protocol. "Starting tomorrow we will have a total 200 people auditing the process, which will be split into two groups of 100."

With the holy month of Ramadan coming to an end, Noor said that the IEC will increase the number of working teams to enhance the auditing movement.

On Wednesday, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

It is said that the process was halted over disagreements about the presence of Abdullah's foreign observers.

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team claimed that some of Abdullah's foreign observers did not have monitoring cards and were giving incorrect information to the UN until the security forces drove them out of the IEC compound.

Abdullah's team has rejected the allegations.

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