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Resolve the Election Stalemate

Kabul police promise voter security
President Hamid Karzai welcomed a UN mediation for Afghanistan’s election stalemate. Earlier, presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah had denounced the electoral bodies for their partiality in the elections and called on his team observers to cut ties with the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission. Abdullah insisted that the electoral bodies have lost credibility as they have failed to heed and properly respond to legitimate concerns of his team. Abdullah’s camp has raised serious concerns over the number of voters in some provinces and stuffing of ballot boxes in favor of the rival candidate. The IEC, however, has said that the vote tallying would continue despite Abdullah Abdullah’s objections to the process. With the claims of widespread frauds, the election is entering in an uncertain course that might lead to political instability and even violence. This could be the scenario that was frightening for most before the elections.
The very first consequence of any sort of political deadlock over the elections would be de-legitimizing the elections and the democratic process in the country that was supposed to mark the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history. Any sort of political disputes, particularly if lasts for months, will leave a weak and unstable government unable to fight the key challenges ahead. Though it is less likely that an all-out violence erupts as result of the deadlock over the elections, it is very certain that the situation may go uncontrolled and lead to somehow violent street demonstrations. Therefore, while there is potential for violence and instability over the electoral disputes, merely political uncertainty and deadlock in the situation can harm the democratic process in the country and weaken the country’s economy and the fight against the insurgency.
While there is need to investigate impartial probes over the allegations of the two candidates, the government and the electoral bodies should not spare any efforts to make the election process transparent and make consensus over the outcome of the elections. Any failure on part of the ECC and IEC to address the concerns raised by the candidates will only worsen the situation and deepen the crisis. Abdullah’s team maintains that they have credible evidences that prove widespread election rigging and stuffing of ballot boxes, demanding the electoral bodies to impartially probe the cases of frauds and irregularities. The IEC and ECC should commit themselves to investigating all claims of frauds and ballot stuffing on the Election Day.
In case if the political deadlock over the elections continues, the most possible scenario in the upcoming months would be street protests and chaos the even could lead to violence and war. All parties that are involved in the process must respect the law and engage in constructive negotiations for resolving the electoral deadlock. All stakeholders of the Afghan politics should practice resilience and self-restraints sticking to the long-term stability of the country. Abdullah’s resilient approach towards the electoral disputes should be praised. He should not be tempted by his supporters or certain elements for making the situation worse rather he should behave with modernity and press the electoral bodies to heed to his concerns.
By: Abdul Maruf “Ghiasaee” Is editor in chief of The Afghanistan Express daily, peace and social Activist

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