Abdullah team warns of boycotting vote audit

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Reform and Unanimity team, led by presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, on Tuesday warned of boycotting the ongoing vote audit if its technical demands were not meet.
Fazal Ahmad Manawi, a member of Dr. Abdullah’s camp, said they would not be part of the ongoing ballot audit anymore. He alleged the process had been politically hijacked.
He said the Reform and Unanimity team had some reservations about the vote-invalidating procedure. The process had been set in motion at the time when the two sides had not agreed on invalidation benchmarks, he claimed.
Around 72.6 percent of votes have been audited so far as part of the scrutiny that started on July 17 after the electoral process hit an impasse due to severe differences between the candidates.
Manawi charged most of ballots from a single polling station had been marked by one individual and did not have signatures or stamps, but they were still entered into to the system.
In addition, he said, ballots from 190 polling stations that had been closed due to security concerns on the Election Day had also been entered to the system and counted as legal votes.
The former election commission chief explained one of their unmet demands was that the voters’ list should be overseen by both teams. The issue had been raised several times with the United Nations, which did not pay any attention, he said.
“We know no one listens to our demands. Legitimacy of the future government that we wished to be established through credible elections will remain elusive,” Manawi observed.
“We will continue to be part of the process and accept the results if they listen to our demands; otherwise we will boycott the audit and say goodbye to it tomorrow,” he maintained.
The process, if it continued to be dictated by the UN, IEC or one team, Abdullah’s observers would no longer have any responsibility for the audit, he continued. “Those who have cheated us will be responsible for the consequences.”
Since the runoff on June 14, Abdullah’s team has twice boycotted the IEC and the election process, creating a deadlock, but it resumed cooperation with the commission after mediation by US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN.
The next president is supposed to attend the upcoming NATO summit to be held in early September. The Wales meeting will discuss future cooperation with Afghanistan.
nh/mds/mud

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