UEEAT issues preliminary statement on runoff

KABUL (Pajhwok): The European Union Election Assessment Team (EUEAT) says the Afghans have confirmed their commitment to democracy, undeterred by violence. But continued efforts are needed to preserve the integrity of people's votes, the EUEAT said in its preliminary statement on the second round of the presidential election.
Following is the complete statement:
The run-off of the Presidential election was held on 14 June, 10 weeks after the first round vote. The two candidates and their respective running mates engaged in a lively campaign, though fewer public events were reported than in the first round. Vibrant debates were conducted in the media which offered voters a range of economic, political and societal options from which to choose their next President. Security challenges were more pronounced, including a direct attack against one of the candidates.
Afghan voters showed a remarkable determination by participating in large numbers in this first ever second round of the Presidential election in Afghanistan's electoral history. The EU EAT notes also the engagement of both candidates in polling activities through the deployment of a large number of their representatives in the polling stations (PS) in the vast majority of the provinces.
The postponement of the Presidential election run-off to 14 June, for logistical and technical reasons, gave the electoral administration an expanded timeframe to improve the electoral process and to complete the production and distribution of electoral material. The IEC showed continuous improvement since the first round, namely by increasing cooperation and communication with candidates and other stakeholders. A series of round tables and lessons learned workshops facilitated such an inclusive approach and positively affected the overall preparations for the run-off.
The comprehensive legal framework governing the election process was complemented by regulations issued by the Independent Election Commission (IEC). While some regulations were adopted in a timely manner, others have been issued at a very late stage for the first round. However, the IEC has improved ahead of the run-off the transparency and accountability of the process, namely by endorsing key decisions and publishing procedures.
In the first round the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) investigated a total of 2,133 Election day complaints, with the majority filed at the Provincial Independent Election Commission (PIECC) level. Following these investigations the IECC and IEC excluded a total of 331 PS from the final results.
In total, the IECC investigated 11 run-off campaign related complaints; all were dismissed. At the close of the run-off election, the IECC reported that 135 complaints were filed on Election day, with an additional 140 submitted by telephone, making a total of 275 cases.

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