Kabul, Afghanistan, October 21, 2010–The preliminary results of the 2010 parliamentary elections attest to an alarming level of fraud nationwide and the need for a thorough examination of complaints, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said Thursday.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) released the preliminary poll results for the entire country on October 20. More than a million ballots were excluded during tallying and recounting.
FEFA commended the IEC for working to identify a large number of fraudulent votes. At the same time, FEFA expressed concern regarding the dramatic increase in estimated voter turnout between the days just after voting and the release of the preliminary results.
The election administration body initially estimated that approximately 4 million voters turned out on Election Day. That estimate jumped to more than 5 million when the preliminary results were announced. “The IEC needs to provide a clear explanation for this change,” said FEFA executive director Jandad Spinghar.
FEFA observers in some provinces reported that IEC staff did not show official recount orders to candidates’ agents before initiating recounting and in other areas blocked them from observing recounts, prompting FEFA to express concern over the transparency of recounting.
Final election results are expected to be released on October 30, after the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has decided on more than 4,500 complaints submitted to it by individuals and organizations. Two-hundred and twenty-four candidates, some of them powerful political figures, are currently under investigation for electoral fraud. On October 24, the ECC will send its decisions to the IEC.
“The ECC’s role is most important now, between the preliminary results and final results,” said Spinghar. “Election Day wrongdoing and inequalities can be balanced to some extent through the complaints process.”