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MPs, Analysts Distressed Over Election Impasse

With no clear end in site, the impasse in this year’s election process, with Abdullah Abdullah still boycotting the results released by election officials, has caused anxiety and frustration among Afghans from all walks of life. This week, a number of MPs and election experts expressed their concern for the current standoff, which has reportedly caused shockwaves in the Afghan economy.

“The election has also a legal aspect, and the election management bodies must not ignore it, the situation which we face is very concerning,” Parliament Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said on Wednesday. “I want to tell the two electoral bodies that they must not pursue a biased approach.”

Abdullah and his observers have remained in boycott of the election commissions for over three weeks, ever since Abdullah accused top officials at the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Presidential Palace of working in cahoots to ensure victory for his opponent, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

Although the election commissions have effectively ignored Abdullah’s demands regarding the vote counting process and fraud investigations, representatives of Abdullah’s camp indicated they remain hopeful that the disputes can be resolved.

“Now we are defending democracy and the democratic process and hope that a way out is found so that the foundation of the next system and government is laid on the basis of the people’s vote,” Abdullah spokesman Mujiburrahman Rahimi said on Wednesday. “We still have time for the acceptance of such a solution and recommendation, but if such an opportunity isn’t available, the outcome of the elections would be bitter to the people of Afghanistan and those who plotted fraud.”

However, Ashraf Ghani’s camp has remained adamant about respecting the process and election laws, urging Abdullah to normalize relations.

“I believe that we must submit to law and legal actions and respect the process, getting out from the process and exploiting the process isn’t the solution,” Ghani spokesman Hamidullah Farooqi said. “Our belief is that the politicians of Afghanistan, especially the candidates, must show respect for the law.”

Meanwhile, Zekirya Barakzai, the head of Afghanistan Democracy Watch, has expressed concern about the lack of initiative the Afghan government has taken to resolve the election process’ current crisis.

“I want to say that the silence of the government in such a sensitive stage is questionable and it is shameful to us with a country with a long history that the U.S. president must come to Afghanistan during every elections and mediate among Afghans,” Barakzai said.

But Barakzai also seemed hopeful that the impasse would end soon. “I think the politicians of Afghanistan, in consideration of the sensitivity of the issue and in consideration of its political implications, will soon reach a decision and prevent the occurrence of a tragedy in Afghanistan.”

For now, though, tensions remain as high as ever.

During a gathering on Tuesday, supporters of Abdullah tore apart the picture of President Hamid Karzai hanging in the Loya Jirga tent and replaced it with a picture of Abdullah. Abdullah did, however, later denounce the act and encourage restraint from his supporters.

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