Elections Observation Report 2014

On April 5th and June 14th, 2014, the people of Afghanistan, as their civic duty, twice went to ballot boxes to elect a new President and members of provincial council. The 2014 election was the third presidential and provincial council election after the fall of the Taliban regime and the formation of a new government.
The first round of 2014 presidential and provincial council elections was held simultaneously on April 5th throughout the country. From the eight candidates, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah with 45% and Dr. Ashraf Ghani with 32% votes went to a run-off. Dr. Zalmai Rasool and Abdurab Alrasool Sayaaf respectively came 3rd and 4th. The massive turnout at the ballot boxes in this first round indicated that elections, as a democratic process in the country, are gradually moving towards institutionalization and that the people’s appreciation of this process has dramatically improved.
With the announcement of the final result of the elections held on April 5th, it was evident that although the two leading candidates of this round, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani won significant amounts of the votes, they didn’t have the required majority to win. Therefore, they competed once again in the run-off that was held on the June 14th, 2014. The second round of elections in Afghanistan was an unprecedented event that people and responsible institutions did not have previous experience of. In the run-off, government officials and many other candidates announced their support for the two frontrunners candidates, gradually changing the dynamics of political rivalry between the two. According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, the term of office for the President is five years and for the provincial council it is four years. The provincial council elections of the years 2009 and 2014 were held together with the presidential elections; however, the one in 2006 was held with the parliamentary elections.

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Report of the Conference on Evaluating Women Political Participation in 2014 Election

Free & Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) in cooperation with the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), Ministry of Interior Affairs, Ministry of Women Affairs, Afghan Women Network, Afghan Women Educational Center and ACSEN Network held a conference on 12/29/2014 in Park-Star hotel. The purpose of conference was to evaluate women political participation in 2014 elections. The participants of this conference were more than 160 person from civil society organizations, political parties, women rights organizations, provincial council members and losing candidates, members of parliament, IEC commissioners and staff, representative of Ministry of Women Affair and representative of Ministry of Interior Affairs.

The conference included two panels through which the achievements, challenges concerning political participation of women in 2014 election were evaluated. Members of first panel were the Executive Director of FEFA (Mohammad Yousuf Rasheed), the deputy of Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (Rida Azimi), the commissioner of Independent Election Commission ( Laila Ahrari), a member of parliament (Gulalai Noor Safi), the representative of Ministry of Women Affairs (Marukh Yousufzai) and the representative of Ministry of Interior Affairs (Mr. Aqiqi). However, members of the second panel were the candidate of second vicepresident (Habiba Surabi), member of Kabul provincial council (Khatera Ishaqzai), member of Dr. Ghani campaign team (Azita Rafat), member of Dr. Abdullah campaign team (Gul Makai Safi), member of Afghan Women Network (Roshan Mashal) and representative of ACSEN network (Humaira Saqib) and every one discussed women political participation in 2014 election, women achievements and future opportunities from their own perspectives.

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Series of Lessons Learned 2nd Report

An important part of the election process is the handling and adjudication of the electoral complaints on violations and fraud by the electoral commissions. The constitution of Afghanistan and the electoral law have given the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) the competency to handle and adjudicate complaints on electoral violations and fraud. And therefore IECC is responsible to protect the vote of people. However, there exist doubts on to what extent the IECC was successful in its performances during the process. FEFA as the largest domestic election observation organization in Afghanistan observed the performance of the IECC in every stage of the process in the first round acknowledges some of the overall measures taken by the IECC but criticizes the commission’s breach and sometimes flawed interpretation of the laws. Breaching laws cannot only undermine the performance of the commission but can ultimately impact the transparency of the election process.

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Series of Lessons Learned 1sth Report

The main purpose of this report is to provide IEC with specific recommendations to bring about positive changes for better conduct of the second round runoff. FEFA, in order to cooperate with the commission in holding a more fair and credible second round, will provide a series of analyses on major lessons learned that are considered significant to the process. The first issue that FEFA want to bring to the commission’s attention is the early shortfall of ballots and its relation with the fraud. This brief paper also provides an evaluation of the IEC’s decisions to address the issue for the runoff.
Running short on ballot papers within barely two hours of voting in number of polling stations was a serious concern observed by FEFA’s observers. Ballot papers can run short in a normal process too as long as they withstand at least the first 5-6 hours of voting. But the issue of concern is a potential correlation between the premature ballot shortfalls and ballot stuffing in most of these polling stations. This issue could also be linked to those incidents where observers were denied entrance to number of polling stations in early hours of voting.
This initial report mainly focuses on premature ballot shortfalls and its relation with other irregularities and fraudulent acts occurred in the same polling stations.

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FEFA Election Day Observation Statement

FEFA is honored to announce that the organization has now been able to successfully monitor three cycles of presidential and provincial council elections. This brief Election Day statement is result of observation of more than 9500 observers of FEFA throughout the country. This statement seeks to present major patterns of irregularities and highlights the provinces where these irregularities were observed in higher frequencies on April 5, Election Day. Details of such incidents and practices shall be provided to the Independent Elections Complaints Commission and Independent Elections Commission along with supplementary documents including pictures and videos for their further investigation...

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