Watchdogs detect shortcomings in runoff

KABUL (Pajhwok): Three independent election watchdogs on Saturday acknowledged the runoff vote generally went well but insecurity, shortage of ballot papers, ballot stuffing and technical shortcomings were observed.

The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) noted shortcomings such as proxy voting, closure of polling centres and stations, and a lower turnout in many provinces.
On Election Day, day, in all 34 provinces, 5,960 polling centers opened, 157 remained shut and around 487 addition stations were set up, a statement from TEFA said. The voting concluded at 4:00 pm but people were allowed to vote beyond the closing time.
Voting beyond the stipulated time took place in provinces including Kabul, Herat, Parwan, Balkh, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Ghazni, Kunduz and Badakhshan.
The Elections Watch Organisation of Afghanistan (EWA) also noted technical and logistical shortcomings, late opening of a number of polling stations, lack of ballot papers and a shortage of female staff in some polling stations.
It said the irregularities included interference of candidate agents and government officials in the voting process in some polling stations, as well as partiality of some IEC staff members.
EWA said IEC and IECC were responsible for addressing the irregularities and making the required decisions in line with the relevant laws, regulations and procedures.
Meanwhile, the Inclusive and Democratic Election Association (IDEA) said people’s participation in the president election for the second time proved that they wanted to have a say in the country’s affairs and electing their future president.
“The participation and interest of men and women in this round reflects growing political consciousness and sense of responsibility among people. It signifies that the Afghan people want a democratic and stable country.”
It also noted the shortage of ballot papers at some polling centers, prevention of national observers’ entry into some centers in different provinces and efforts by some individuals to influence the process in Kabul, Faryab, Nangarhar, Ghor and Farah.
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