Government’s political opponents and critics have hit out at the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) regarding the organization’s claims that nine million Afghans across the country have registered to vote.
The IEC on Monday again said that over nine million Afghans registered – despite rising concern in the country of widespread ID fraud and ghost voters.
According to the IEC, the commission is in the process of entering the details, of all those who registered, into their database.
Critics however say that as many as five million are in fact ghost voters.
In answer to a question on whether the IEC has the capacity to weed out ghost voters, Sayed Ibrahim Sadat, the head of the IEC’s IT department, said: “As you are aware, our institution does not issue IDs … now it is not the responsibility of the commission to identify this (ghost voters).”
According to him, the IEC’s data processing system is only able to identify voters who have registered more than once and of those who are under the age of 18. However, it is not able to identify fake IDs.
By Monday, over three million voters had been entered into the IEC’s database.
A TOLOnews reporter who visited the Afghanistan Central Civil Registration Authority (ACCRA) said information about five million ID cards recently issued by ACCRA had not yet been registered in the ACCRA database. However, this issue is being dealt with, officials said.
The IEC said it plans to create two special commissions that will be tasked with preventing fraud and vote rigging in the elections.
“The Independent Election Commission, Central Statistics Organization and ACCRA sat together to share details about the databases to find out how accurate they are,” said IEC commissioner Sayed Hafiz Hashemi.
But critics have said at least five if not six million ID cards are of ghost voters.
Amir Mohammad Akhundzada, a member of the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan said he was sure at least six million are fake.
“I am confident that there is no more than 1.5 million clean votes in Afghanistan,” he said.
But Afghan political parties have insisted that government and the IEC must use a biometric system for elections to prevent fraud. However, the IEC and government have not agreed to this – at least not for October’s parliamentary elections.
Members of major political parties and movements have met with government representatives and election commissioners to discuss their demands regarding the upcoming elections, but the meeting ended in a stalemate.
Political parties representatives accused government and the election commission of not being committed to holding a transparent election.
The IEC meanwhile said that there is not enough time to roll out such a process before October 20 elections.
The political parties have called for changes to be brought to the electoral system, the suspension of the voter registration process, rolling out a biometric system for voter registration and declaring each province a single constituency.