As Vote-Counting Begins, FEFA Raises Concerns over Election Irregularities

Kabul, September 18, 2010 – 9:30pm – As polls closed Saturday evening in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections and ballot-counting began, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan reported extensive irregularities and called on the Independent Election Commission to ensure the integrity of the rest of the electoral process.

Insecurity and violence shaped the voting process in large swaths of the country. FEFA observers reported serious security incidents around at least 389 polling centers. Polling centers were blown up in Kunar, Khost and Kandahar and captured in Laghman, Kunduz and Badghis, shutting down voting in the communities those centers served.

Violence by candidates, their agents and local powerbrokers was reported in several areas and so were a worrying number of instances of government official interfering in the voting process to sway the results in favor of their chosen candidates.
Ballot stuffing was seen to varying extents in most provinces, as were proxy voting and underage voting.

The widespread ink failures at the polls caused panic among candidates who feared the ink’s removability would enable fraud by rivals distributing multiple voter cards to their supporters...

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FEFA Encourages Voting, Urges Election Complaints Body to Enforce Laws

FEFA Encourages Voting, Urges Election Complaints Body to Enforce Laws
Friday, 17 September 2010 09:06 - Last Updated Friday, 17 September 2010 09:08

Kabul, 16 September, 2010– Afghanistan’s electoral complaints commission must decisively adjudicate all complaints submitted after Saturday’s parliamentary elections, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said Thursday.

Between July 15 and August 25, FEFA’s observers across Afghanistan submitted 583 reports of electoral violations, including government officials unlawfully supporting candidates, candidates using state resources in their campaigns, and uniformed security officers participating in campaigns. “We are disappointed because we saw very little action from the ECC [Electoral Complaints Commission] during the campaigns. Few candidates were sanctioned for electoral offenses, and the candidates the commission did sanction were not the most serious offenders,” said FEFA executive director Jandad Spinghar. “The ECC must be ready to seriously tackle complaints after Election Day.”

In its second campaign period report, due to be released Friday, FEFA detailed high levels of election-related intimidation and violence, including nearly 200 acts of intimidation reported by its observers between the middle of July and end of August.
Even formerly secure provinces experienced systematic efforts by insurgents and powerbrokers to frighten candidates, campaign staff and voters. Observers in Nangarhar reported that Taliban distributed night letters threatening to kill candidates, instructing shopkeepers not to display campaign materials and warning residents not to vote.

Afghan Election Monitor Calls for Protection of Civilians, Condemns Election Violence

Afghan Election Monitor Calls for Protection of Civilians, Condemns Election Violence
Saturday, 28 August 2010 08:59 – Last Updated Wednesday, 08 September 2010 08:57


Kabul, 6 September, 2010 –The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) Monday condemned recent killings of candidates and campaigners preparing for Afghanistan’s
upcoming parliamentary elections, and called on security forces to increase efforts to prevent further bloodshed ahead of the September 18 poll.

Since the beginning of the campaigns in late June, 3 candidates and at least 11 campaign staff have been killed across Afghanistan, and many more have been abducted, assaulted, intimidated, and seriously injured in attacks on candidates. Most of these attacks have been attributed to insurgent groups and local powerbrokers seeking to thwart or sway the elections through violence.

On August 4, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the media, “Everything and everyone affiliated with the elections is our target –candidates, security forces, campaigners, election workers, voters are all our targets."
FEFA strongly disagreed.

“We ask Taliban to respect the choices of those who wish to participate in the elections,” said Nader Nadery, chairman of the non-governmental election observer and advocacy organization. “Under international law, they have an obligation to refrain from attacking civilians. And all candidates must respect the nature of a democratic system and seek office peacefully.”

As many as 10 campaign staff were killed in a NATO airstrike in Takhar province on August 2, according to media reports. The incident is now under investigation.

Afghan Election Monitor Calls for Protection of Civilians, Condemns Election Violence Saturday, 28 August 2010 08:59 - Last Updated Wednesday, 08 September 2010 08:57 “We urge the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to recognize the fragility of the electoral environment and take extra precautions to avoid harming civilians involved in pre-election activities,” said Nadery. “Afghan security forces also need to increase efforts to
protect vulnerable people involved in the elections.”


Third Observation Report of the 2010 Election Observation Mission: The Campaign Period from June 23

Kabul – August 2010
The campaign period of Afghanistan’s 2010 parliamentary elections kicked off on June 23 and will run until September 16.

FEFA’s long-term observers were present in the capitals of all 34 provinces to observe the campaigns directly at the provincial level and indirectly at the district level through volunteer district observers. During the first 3 weeks of campaigns, observers reported electoral violations and abuses of state resource by candidates, campaign staff, and government employees.

Observers also used a combination of open source reports and interviews with candidates, electoral workers, and citizens to monitor the overall security situation in their provinces, and reported specific threats against individuals involved in the electoral process. This report should be viewed as an illustrative snapshot of the launch of the 2010 campaign season at the provincial level...

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Afghanistan Election Monitor: Extend Voter Registration and Boost Oversight

Afghanistan Election Monitor: Extend Voter Registration and Boost Oversight
Sunday, 15 August 2010 08:14 - Last Updated Sunday, 15 August 2010 08:22

Kabul, August 14, 2010 – The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) joined the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Saturday in calling for an extension to nationwide voter registration, and cautioned that an extended process should be carried out with tighter oversight to prevent electoral violations.

“Voter registration should be extended to allow more eligible citizens to register,” said FEFA executive director Jandad Spinghar. “At the same time, the IEC [Independent Election Commission] must be more careful not to allow the extension to become an opportunity for violations such as underage voter registration, proxy registration by men for women voters, and the distribution of multiple cards to individual voters.”

During voter registration for last year’s presidential and provincial council elections, FEFA observers reported rampant irregularities at voter registration centers throughout the country.


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