Political parties also said that all those votes at centers that did not use biometric systems need to be discarded.
Parties Claim Elections Were ‘Riddled With Fraud’
A number of political parties on Monday criticized the Independent Election Commission (IEC) over what they called poor management and said the elections had been riddled with fraud.
The parties’ representatives said at a press conference in Kabul the IEC had systematically deprived a number of people from voting in different parts of the country.
The parties asked the election commission to discard votes from polling centers where biometric devices were not used.
“We heard that IEC officials unashamedly claimed elections were transparent. We do not know what their definition of transparency is,” Humayun Jarir, a member of Hizb-e-Islami said.
On Saturday, hundreds of polling centers failed to open and many others opened late. There were also technical problems with the biometric devices. Because so many centers failed to open, the IEC extended elections by one day and opened over 200 of the 401 centers that had been closed on Saturday. Even then, many of these centers opened late.
Voters however were furious about this and also criticized the election commission. They in turn accused them of poor management and claimed there had been numerous irregularities.
Political parties now say these shortcomings were all a political and calculated move organized by the election commission.
“Afghanistan political parties want the voting results, in the areas where biometric systems were not used, discredited,” Khan Mohammad Wahdat, a representative of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan said.
“The start of the process was delayed (in the morning) so votes could be counted in the darkness of the night. Women could also not stay (in polling centers) late in to the night,” Noor Rahman Akhlaqi, a member of Jamiat-e-Islami said.
Th election commission meanwhile said the use of the biometric system had been suggested by the political parties adding that the problems experienced were because they had not had enough time to roll out the process properly.
The commission officials rejected any calculated and political move around the process and said there were some problems with the biometric system, but biometric units were used at 90 percent of the polling centers.
“We have complaints from the electoral complaints commission, because it is a complementary commission of the election commission. Instead of holding conferences and confusing people, they should have referred to the law,” IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad said.
Although the political parties said parliamentary elections had been full of challenges, they said they appreciated the nation for having voted in such large numbers.
The parties said they will announce their final stance about the elections once their observers finish their jobs in monitoring the process.