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Political parties want IEC technical staff to be sacked

Is IEC Capable of Holding Upcoming Elections?

Election is the only ray of hope for the future of Afghanistan. It is the key among the civil rights and social rights. Many Afghans demand change in the current situation. So, conducting general election is the last hope for such changes, which is scheduled on July 20 by Independent Election Commission (IEC). Considering the past elections which were influenced by frauds and rigging in Afghanistan, is there really a hope for change this time and is IEC capable of holding the upcoming elections.
Although the election for the parliament in Afghanistan was held after three years of delay. Fraud and rigging and also lack of management were the main challenges. The Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC) received 5,000 complaints in just two days, which represent the level of fraud and rigging in this process.
On the day of polling, many polling stations did not open on time and in some provinces, it was opened after 4 or 5-hour delay. The voters waited for long time to cast their votes but voting was extended to the second day as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said they gave voters more time to cast their ballot because of a lack of voter materials at some polling stations and problems with the electronic voter system.
Lack of management by IEC on the first day of polling when on one occasion the voters list of one province was sent to another province only heightened. In many polling stations the names of voters were missing due to this problem many voters were not able to cast their votes.
The late introduction of the biometric devices caused major delays at many polling stations, according to election observers. Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) said 32 percent of the biometric systems were not working in 22 percent of the polling stations.
The IEC was not able to hold parliamentary elections properly as it was expected. Which was followed by heavy criticism of October’s chaotic parliamentary polls. The Electoral body had time to announce the final result till December 20 of last year as it was scheduled but again the IEC was not able to release the result on time.
In addition, IEC was accused of manipulating the results of election in different provinces, and evidence went viral which showed the possibility of ghost voters in many provinces.
On the other hand, IEC Chief Abdul Badi Sayyad recently announced that presidential election will be postponed by three months to July 20 instead of April 20. He also mentioned that due to some technical problems it is not able to hold presidential Election on April 20 as it was scheduled.
He highlighted that IEC will hold presidential election, Ghazni parliamentary election, provincial council elections and district council election on July 20 at the same time.
IEC could not manage the previous elections properly in which after several months could not release the final results and failed to fully announce the November 21 parliamentary polls, how can it manage four elections at a time?
The Election Observer Committees and number of political parties have doubt on IEC and have no trust on this commission. They demand for major reforms and changes in the IEC hierarchy.
The demands for the change in the election commission are that the current leadership does not have the capacity to manage the presidential elections and three other elections, so the leadership of the commission and its management need to change.
In fact, the examples and evidences have proved that IEC does not have the capacity of conducting presidential polls and three other elections at the same time. The IEC and its current leadership are weak to manage the challenges. It is not in the interest of any party whether it is the National Unity Government (NUG) or opposition parties. Beside this, the current electoral commission is not an independent organization and has many other faults within its structure.
Holding presidential polls and are beyond the capacity of IEC in its current shape and capacity. This needs to be understood by IEC, the NUG and the international supporters. In upcoming presidential polls, we can face crises similar to the one in 2014.
Now, the priority should be to establish a commission with responsibility and capacity through proper electoral reform, and nothing else. The Presidential Palace and major political parties need to agree on reforms and changes in IEC and IECC to form electoral commissions with capacity and competence. If political parties do not agree with NUG to the structure and characteristics of commissions, it is better that the administration of July’s presidential poll should involve independent international organizations or institutions that oversee the process thoroughly.
(Sahar News)

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