The Differences over Vote Audit
As all election stakeholders are involved in the vote audit, the process is again facing challenges as the two election camps are again in loggerheads over the vote count. Based on the agreement reached between the parties with mediation from US Secretary of State John Kerry, the vote count will proceed with direction observation from the election camps as well as foreign observers and the United Nations. According to the reports, since the beginning the process has faced various sorts of challenges. There are fears that the differences between the candidates and the continued intervention of external players in the process would derail the process and put the process at risk.
According to the reports, there were differences in past few days over whether to count the votes with signatures and fingerprints as valid or invalid. However, despite the dispute resolved between the two sides, now other differences seem to be emerging. Unconfirmed reports suggest some bulk of votes that had been recorded by the Independent Election Commission, are missing. It seems there are many factors playing out in the process. Involvement of foreign observers along with other domestic stakeholders has further complicated the situation. The differences over the process of vote audit indicate the challenges that lie ahead of the process. It proves the democratic experiment in the country a very immature and flawed one.
Lack of commitment among the Afghan political spectrum discredited the democratic process for power transition and is continuing to harm Afghanistan’s long-term interests. And the responsibility for this situation lies mainly on the Afghan government that failed to lead a sound and transparent process. The aftermaths of the runoff election was almost a total failure for the country as it led Afghanistan on the brink of a potential abyss of violence and civil war. Along with the government, the Independent Election Commission and its audit branch Electoral Complaints Commission played a terribly flawed role in the process.
Given that the process has been almost derailed from its constitutional ground there are now immense distrusts among the public regarding the whole political process. John Kerry’s mediation which produced an agreement of power-sharing between the two candidates was deemed as an outlet from the crisis. As a result of the agreement, election tensions deescalated and the process of vote audit got underway. With the agreement, a potentially dangerous crisis was averted and Afghanistan closely missed another chapter of instability and violence. The irresponsible approach of Afghan statesmen and national institutions towards the country’s election process harmed the country in a way that can be compared to the Taliban insurgency.
Despite the US-mediate agreement saved Afghanistan from a potential instability and brought it back to the constitutional course, the election camps still are pushing for their narrow-sighted interests while national institutions such as the electoral commissions have lost the legitimacy to the eyes of the public to judge differences and make decisions for the process. This has put the election process at a greater risk. Ultimately, it is now the time for the candidates to realize that they need to stick to their commitment and cooperate in the process.