UNAMA proposes additional vote audit

 
KABUL (Pajhwok): At a meeting convened by President Hamid Karzai the other day, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) presented its proposal for an additional audit aimed at strengthening the credibility of the country’s electoral process and acceptance of the results from the recent presidential election run-off by both campaigns and Afghans.
A UNAMA statement said amongst others, First Vice President Yunus Qanuni, Second Vice President, Karim Khalili, Chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Ahmed Yusuf Nuristani, Chairman of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), Abdul Sattar Sadaat, Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi and the General Director of the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution, Gul Rahman Qazi attended the meeting.
For weeks, both presidential candidates have requested a full investigation of serious and credible allegations of fraud and have strongly urged measures that would separate fraudulent ballots from valid votes. UNAMA shared these concerns and supports an extensive and thorough investigation and audit.
At the request of the two presidential candidates and the Afghan authorities, the United Nations has over the past days held numerous meetings with representatives of both presidential campaigns to discuss measures to increase the integrity and credibility of the run-off.
Based on extensive consultation with the two campaigns, the following set of audit criteria are contained in the proposal put forward by the UN: All polling stations with 595+ votes (including repeating the audit of 599+ votes already conducted by the IEC).
All female polling stations that were staffed by male workers. • All polling centres where, although the number of female polling stations was less than or equal to that of male polling stations, the votes from female polling stations exceeded votes from male polling stations.
• All polling stations where votes received by either candidate is a multiple of fifty, starting from 100 votes.
• All polling centres where polling stations were added for the run-off.
These criteria would create an audit that entails 8,050 polling stations (35 per cent of all polling stations) and 3.5 million ballots (44 per cent of all ballots cast).
It is estimated that such a robust nationwide audit, involving 34 provinces, would take up to 14 days.
In order to increase the transparency and confidence in this audit, the UN recommended that the ballot boxes from a randomly selected ten per cent of the audited polling stations from each of the 34 provinces be retrieved to Kabul and audited there (approximately 800 polling stations).
This would be for the purpose of enabling thorough international observation of the audit of the ballots from these polling stations. The audits of all polling stations from Kabul province itself would also receive the same regime of thorough international observation.
The scope of the proposed audit is limited by the current electoral timeline requiring that the final results be announced around 22 July.
At yesterday’s meeting, UNAMA also confirmed that, provided more time is given, additional investigation/audit measures could be implemented, which would further increase the scope of the proposed audit (under the measures that would provide for its integrity) and thus enhance the credibility of the electoral process and its results.
The Mission urged authorities and institutions of Afghanistan to consider an expansion of the audit and that the IEC and the IECC propose additional measures. With satisfaction, the Mission notes that such an approach registered support at the meeting.
UNAMA urged the IECC and the IEC to take up this proposal and consider expanding it further. It is expected that both commissions will immediately start implementing the proposed audit with the utmost impartiality and transparency and conduct it in a rigorous and expeditious manner, thus demonstrating their commitment to the future of a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan.
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