The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) on Friday criticized the Independent Election Commission (IEC) over its agreement with the Central Statistics Organization in holding the upcoming presidential elections.
Last week, IEC and CSO signed an agreement based on which the CSO will support IEC in terms of recruiting and training technical employees for using biometric devices as well as will repair the devices.
TEFA spokesperson Sughra Saadat said although there are big companies that are professional in using the biometric system for elections in the world and they have agencies in Afghanistan, but the Afghan government and the IEC instead of receiving technical support from those companies, are interested in the CSO which according to them its activities are full of deficiencies.
According to Saadat, IEC has committed "a big mistake" by signing the agreement with the CSO and that the presidential elections will experience the fate of parliamentary elections.
“They have made a contract with a department which itself is full of problems and has asked it to come and support the elections which repeatedly have lost reputation,” Sadat said.
TEFA said IEC has not consulted with elections watchdogs about the agreement it signed with the CSO.
“The cooperation includes recruitment, training and repairing the devices that might experience problems,” said Mohammad Abdullah, an IEC commissioner.
Officials from the CSO said that based on the agreement, 22,000 biometric devices will be transferred to the CSO and they will change the software installed in the devices.
CSO spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said in the last elections the biometric devices only were recording two fingers of the voters, but they will register all the 10 fingers once they change the software.
“If IEC’s technical team needs training in technical issues, our technical team is ready to train them,” Ahmadzai said.
The biometric devices used in the last elections encountered some technical problems on the election days and it has changed to a concern for electoral monitoring organizations and political parties.