PUL-I-ALAM (Pajhwok): Losing provincial council candidates on Tuesday staged a protest in the capital of central Logar province, accusing the Independent Election Commission (IEC) of fraud in tallying votes.
Accompanied by their supporters, the candidates, whose names were missing from the list of winners in the preliminary results, protested in front of the IEC office in Pul-i-Alam.
Farzana Shansab, a losing candidate, told Pajhwok Afghan News widespread fraud had been committed in the April 5 provincial council elections and people’s votes had been disrespected.
“IEC officials had stuffed ballot boxes with fake votes in return for money,” she alleged.
Another failing candidate, Mohammad Nasir Ghairat, who contested the elections from the Mohammad Agha district, claimed result sheets had been interfered with.
“A have a copy of the result sheet from a polling station. The copy shows I have the most votes, but the current list shows I have the least votes from the same station. If it's not fraud then what is this?”
Haji Mohammad Ibrahim, a resident of the Azra district, who took part in the protest, said people had voted in the elections by risking their lives, but their spirit had no value with the election commission.
“My question is why fraud was committed,” asked the disgruntled candidate, who on behalf other losing runners called for a recount of votes in order to separate fraudulent ballots from real ones.
The protest that continued for two hours came to an end after provincial council deputy head Mohammad Hashim Faizi held talks with the protestors and promised to raise the issue with the authorities concerned.
But IEC head in Logar Nimatullah Wardak rejected the claims that fraud had been committed in vote tallying process.
“These are not the final results. It will be known later what is going to happen. If the protesting candidates have evidence, why don’t they share that with us and why they did not share any evidence with the complaints commission in the given time,” reasoned Wardak.
Of the 39 provincial council candidates, including four women, only nine have been declared winners in the initial results.