KABUL (Pajhwok): The election watchdog chief on Tuesday said the Parliament had no authority to summon election officials and that he had no intension to appear before the upper house.
Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) Chairman Abdul Sattar Sadat and some other officials of the watchdog are currently on a visit to the United States.
Two days ago, the Meshrano Jirga summoned officials of the two election bodies to brief lawmakers about fraud allegations raised by losing provincial council candidates.
Independent Election Commission (IEC) deputy head Abdul Rahman Hotaki is the only official who appeared before the upper house, but failed to convince it.
The Senate has urged the government to create a special tribunal to investigate final results from the April provincial council elections and prosecute erring IECC officials.
As a result of IECC’s probe into complaints, 47 contenders, who had been declared winners in preliminary results, have been replaced by runners-up in the final count. The replaced candidates include some sitting members of the Meshrano Jirga.
On his Facebook page, Sadat wrote he was called to the upper house because some senators had been removed from the list of winners.
Sadat, who is in the US on an official trip, added: “We have been invited to the US to observe elections of senators and governors here. The trip has been arranged by international organisations and is in compliance with the president’s orders.”
He said it was beyond the upper house’s jurisdiction to summon election officials. He said he would have not appeared before the Senate even if he had been in Kabul, accusing some senators of earning a bad name to the august house. He said the upper house should act within its authority.
In his previous comments on his Facebook wall on Saturday, Sadat claimed that a senator, who had committed widespread fraud in the elections, threatened one of their commissioners over the telephone, but did not name him.
He said their investigations led to dropping the same senator from the final list. He accused the senator of calling himself “a goon.”
He quoted the senator as saying: “Everybody knows I am a goon but it seems you don’t know me. Before becoming a senator I was a goon and have reached this position due to this rowdy attitude…but when we made the final decision, the poor goon was a loser.”
Sadat insisted their investigation and recount of votes had been serious and transparent.
Daud Asas and Raifullah Gul Afghan are the two senators whose names have been removed from the final list issued by the IECC after being declared winners in the initial results.
But Ahmad Javed from western Herat province and Lofullah Baba from Nangarhar are the two lawmakers who have been declared winners by the IECC in the final outcome.
On Tuesday, the upper house once again asked the government to delay oath-taking ceremonies for winning provincial council candidates until the proposed special tribunal investigated complaints.