IEC Vows To Bypass Abdullah In Vote Recount
Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani on Saturday vowed they would go ahead with the recounting of votes cast in the June election tomorrow (Sunday) whether or not presidential candidate Abdullah joins the start-stop process.
Talking to journalists at the IEC headquarters, Nuristani said the commission employees, national and international observers had been hoping the vote audit would resume on Saturday.
But they agreed to a day-long halt to the process at UNAMA request in the larger national interest in order to allow more time for Abdullah and the UN to conclude their negotiations over the criteria for invalidation of suspected votes.
The recount of votes was suspended again despite being scheduled to restart on Saturday after the Eid holidays.
The breakdown followed late night phone talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and candidates Abdullah and his rival candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
A spokesman for Abdullah said that the UN had not taken his concerns into account.
Kerry’s intervention last month in three days of talks in Kabul led to agreement between the two candidates to carry out a full audit of votes.
However, the two candidates have entered a new dispute over how to deal with ballot boxes found to contain invalid votes.
Nuristani said they would accept no more delays in the auditing process, which had been scheduled to restart at 7:00am on Saturday.
“Even if Abdullah’s camp does not participate, we will go ahead with the audit in presence of representatives of the Change and Continuity team led by Ghani, national and international observers tomorrow,” the IEC chief insisted.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General’s special representative for Afghanistan Jan Kubis said the IEC was all set to restart the recount on Saturday after its employees were trained and Afghan and foreign observers showed up.
“Dr. Abdullah has called for clarity in the UN-proposed criteria for invalidation of suspected ballots. As a result, we called on the IEC to delay the process until tomorrow and we hope it will resume after talks with Abdullah,” he said.
Launched on July, 17, the auditing process had been suspended thrice so far due to differences between both the candidates.