MPs want IEC officials tried over disputed polls

KABUL (Pajhwok): Some lower house members on Wednesday said Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials should be tried for failing to conduct the elections in a proper way.

But others said criticism on the IEC had no benefit now and instead all Afghans should work jointly for peace and stability and strengthening the new unity government’s hands.

The first round of presidential elections on April 5 failed to produce a clear winner and the second round on June 14 was marred by allegations of large scale fraud.

But finally the two leading candidates agreed to form a national unity government, ending months-long political tension.

Under the unity government deal, the Loya Jirga would be called into session to amend the Constitution to create the post of a chief executive officer.

The deal also allowed the IEC to release the final election results, declaring Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai the winner. However, the IEC did not release the vote totals that underwent a long audit for fraud.

Some Wolesi Jirga members on Wednesday strongly criticised the electoral process during the session.

Abdul Latif Padram from northeastern Badakhshan province said the IEC had failed to separate fraudulent votes from clean ones during the prolonged audit. He said the results were not based on genuine votes.

He said if the elections were really a national process, the IEC would have conducted it with impartiality and have declared the winner on the basis of vote percentage.

Padram said if the elections were not meant to elect a president on people’s mandate, then there was no need for the huge expenses.

A short-term administration should have been appointed, in which Hezb-i-Islami leader Gulbadin Hekmatyar and Taliban leader Mullah Omar should also have been invited to participate, the lawmaker said.

“From this august house, I can say the incoming government has no legitimacy..no one can say half of Afghanistan is yours and half mine.”

Padram said election officials had committed fraud in the elections and they should stand trial.

His colleague from Kabul Zakria said the IEC had not been impartial during the elections and election officials who created hurdles to the polls should be tried in court.

“But I thank the two campaigns for arriving at a settlement and saving Afghanistan from a crisis,” he said.

Another MP from Kabul Syed Ali Kazmi also said IEC officials had not been impartial during the elections.

He urged the two campaigns to accept each other and put to an end their past differences because the people of Afghanistan wanted them to resolve their problems, strengthen economy, security and peace.

First Deputy Speaker Sediq Ahmad Osmani, who presided over the session, remarked the IEC had conducted the world’s most longest and notorious elections.

“The election commission has failed in performing its job, we and the international community understand it.”

He called for a judicial inquiry against IEC’s permanent and temporary employees, who had failed to perform their job in accordance with the law.

Ezedyar also believed the unity government deal had rescued the country from plunging into a deep political crisis. However, he urged the two campaigns to introduce eligible individuals to the posts of ministers and other high positions.

However, some other lawmakers held different views. Maulvi Shahzada Shahid, who represents eastern Kunar province in the lower house, said there should not be much criticism on the election commission because the elections were now a history.

He said the Afghans should now make joint efforts at strengthening the unity government in order to steer Afghanistan out of the crises.

Outspoken lawmaker Shukria Barakzai said with the formation of the unity government, a new chapter had been opened in Afghanistan’s history. She stressed efforts at making the government strong.

Calls seeking comments from the IEC spokesman about lawmakers’ views went unanswered.

ma/mud

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