IEC vows to speed up auditing ballots

KABUL (Pajhwok): As representatives of the candidates and observers complained of a slow-paced vote audit, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) pledged on Monday speeding up the process.
The recount of over eight million votes started on July 17, with the commission believing the audit will be completed in four weeks after ballot boxes from all 34 provinces are transported to Kabul.
Neutral observers and candidate representatives, however, fear that if the commission continues to audit the ballots at the current speed, it may not meet the deadline.
Arian Noori, an observer of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) told Pajhwok Afghan News the audit was going well but slowly. Regretting the slow face, she hoped it would gain momentum in coming days.
Gregory Minjack, chief election observer for Democracy International, said international observers were monitoring the audit in accordance with the agreement between the candidates.
He expressed satisfaction with the progress made thus far. "We will make every possible effort to ensure the transparent completion of the audit process," Gregory promised.
Representatives of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah, meanwhile, stressed the timely completion of the process. The commission has made clear the review would gain momentum with time.
IEC spokesman Noor Muhammad Noori said the audit teams had grown to 50 in each shifts. He added with the arrival of more observers, the number of teams would reach 100 in each of the two shifts.
Noor said at the moment 666 representatives of the candidates, 338 Afghan observers and 322 international were monitoring the process.  He declared a little less than 50% of the ballot boxes -- around 9,476 -- had arrived in Kabul -- thanks to ISAF troops who ensured their safe transportation from different provinces.
He hoped that ballot boxes from the Eastern zone comprising Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan province would also arrive later in the day.

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