IEC Decision on Old Voting Cards Faces Backlash

News - Afghanistan


Afghan political parties Thursday strongly rejected the decision of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to use the old registration system for the 2014 presidential election, warning of a political crisis if the election is fraudulent.

Political groups said that the government's intervention in the IEC's work is a cause of serious concern.

"The government illegally intervened in the commission's affairs and the commission is not capable of working independently without government intervening, so it is a concern for us," National Coalition spokesman Sayed Aqa Fazil Sancharaki said Thursday, adding that the coalition will fight the decision.

The IEC Wednesday announced that it will support the government stance that registration cards from the last presidential election will be valid for 2014, despite it previously pushing for a new registration of all voters countrywide citing fraud concerns.

The excuse given by President Hamid Karzai himself for the government unwillingness to have a new registration process was because there was insufficient budget.

"The issue of money is not a reason," National Front spokesman Faizullah Zaki said. "It is a deceiving line from the government. The government's aim is an election with fraud."

The Right & Justice party said there can be no hope of a transparent election if the old voting system and cards are used.

"The last statement by the election commission on the use of the old cards is an indicator of the government's influence that it cannot guarantee a fair and transparent election," party spokesman Abass Noyan said.

Meanwhile, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan called for the IEC to clearly explain how it will ensure a fair election with the use of the old cards, given that until yesterday the IEC said it was not possible.

FEFA Executive Director Jandad Spinghar said the IEC should be summoned by Parliament on this matter because the current system allows people to vote at least twice.

The IEC retreated from its previous demands of a new registration for all Afghan voters after its previous drafts on how this will to happen were rejected by the government, twice.

New registration and electronic cards will only be issued to those citizens who are not already registered and who have qualified to vote since the last election.

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