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Vote Recount Begins Despite Opposition by Campaigns

10 Nov 2019 Tolo News

The Independent Election Commission, or IEC, has started the vote recounting process in Kabul despite opposition by major election campaign teams who demand the sorting out of “fraudulent votes” ahead of any further move.

The votes of 8,494 polling stations, out of a total of 26,000, will be recounted, according to the head of the IEC secretariat, Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang.

Vote recounting in other provinces will begin on Monday, Nang said on Sunday.

But TOLOnews reporter Gulabuddin Ghubar, who visited the IEC on Sunday, said observers from a number of campaign teams were not present during the process.

The biggest criticism of major campaign teams is over the recounting of votes from over 2,000 polling stations which include paper votes instead of using biometric devices. They are also concerned about the fate of over 300,000 votes which, according to some campaign teams, are not valid.

These votes categories, according to the Stability and Convergence campaign team, are as follows:

• 137,630 votes that are under server quarantine.

• 102,012 votes that were cast before or after election day.

• Votes validated by duplicate photos or photos of photos.

• Votes from 700 devices and memory cards that were lost.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah made his stance clear on the vote recounting process when he addressed a gathering of his supporters in Kabul on Sunday.

“Over the past forty-five days, the 2,400 ballot boxes were under the control of those who have plotted the whispered fraud, and anything can be found inside the boxes,” Abdullah said.

According to Article 19 of the Election Law, only biometric registered votes should be recounted in case there are differences about them.

“The non-biometric votes, as well as the votes that have been used on the election date, will be recounted. These votes must not be counted under any circumstances,” presidential candidate Faramarz Tamanna said.

Boycotting Vote Recount

Besides the Stability and Convergence team led by Abdullah Abdullah, the Council of Presidential Candidates – which includes up to 10 out of 18 presidential runners – also boycotted the vote recounting process on Sunday.

“Our stance is the same as the past. We wanted to boycott the elections; therefore, we boycott the results as well,” said Shahab Hakimi, a presidential candidate and a member of the council.

But, a member of the State Builder campaign team led by President Ashraf Ghani, said they respect the decision by the Election Commission.

“We support the (election) commission’s decision to recount the votes,” said Najib Danish, a spokesman for State Builder.

The presidential elections were held on September 28. According to IEC, the preliminary results will be announced on Nov. 14.

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