FEFA Demands More Time for Disqualified Candidates
KABUL – The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) on Monday demanded the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) allow disqualified candidates challenging their exclusion from the election more time to argue their case during the hearing process. The ECC began its open review process on Sunday, which includes hearing challenges from candidates who were disqualified by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) as well as assessing complaints against candidates submitted by the general public.
Would-be candidates looking to contest the IEC’s ruling against them were asked to appear in front of a panel of ECC officials and make their case for why they should be allowed back into the elections. According to the ECC, all 17 challenges from the Presidential candidates who were cut by the IEC from the preliminary list were heard on Sunday, the first day of the review process. Over 50 challenges from Provincial Council candidates were said to have been heard on Monday.
While the ECC faces a timetable they are expected to keep, making efficiency a major consideration, FEFA activists were highly critical of the briefness of the ECC’s process. FEFA representatives said the time allotted to candidates to present evidence and argue why they should be readmitted into the election race was insufficient.
“The time that has been considered for hearing challenges is very short and more time should be allocated,” said FEFA spokesman Fahim Naeem on Monday. Meanwhile, other civil society activists criticized the assembly line nature of the process and said it would be impossible for the ECC to properly evaluate challenges with them all happening in such quick succession.
“The challenge of each candidate should be heard separately, it’s not possible to hear all the challenges of disqualified candidates or assess their documents at a single time,” said civil society activist Mir Ahamd Joyenda. (Tolonews)