The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has reversed its decision on use biometric system in the upcoming presidential elections amid harsh criticism by some candidates and critics.
Lack of time and limited access to resources and the biometric technology are the reasons behind the decision, a document obtained by TOLOnews reveals.
The use of the biometric system has been advised by the election law which faced an amendment in February. Electoral monitoring organizations called the decision in contravention of the election law.
The Election Commission officials did not comment on the decision.
“One of the reasons that delayed the presidential elections was issues around the use of biometric system (in the elections),” said Naeem Asghari, deputy head of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA).
The use of biometric system was one of the most “controversial” issues which faced the parliamentary elections with criticism over alleged fraud and lack of transparency.
Some presidential candidates said the decision has been made without consultations with them.
“I am part of the elections. I will not accept it if there is no use of biometric system. Who are they to take the decision on their own?” asked Ibrahim Alokozai, a presidential candidate.
“We would be able to bring some flexibility to this provision of the law so that we could introduce an online system for future elections,” said Enayatullah Hafiz, a presidential candidate.
This comes as the Election Commission on Tuesday announced the final results of Kabul parliamentary elections and opened the way for the parliament to hold their session on election of the administrative board and the house speaker.
The US embassy in Kabul in a statement welcomed the move and said it is an important achievement for the new IEC and the ECC, and of Afghanistan’s democratic process.
The US embassy has also raised hopes that the IEC and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission will take all necessary measures to make sure the preparations for the presidential elections.
Back in February all commissioners from the two electoral bodies – the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission – were dismissed from their posts after President Ashraf Ghani signed off on an amendment to the electoral law.
The election law has 109 articles and 17 chapters and according to sources, a number of these articles have been amended.