Following the agreement of the two presidential candidates, on july 17,2014 the independent Election Commission began the nation wide audit of the votes cased on 14 June 2014 Presidential Runoff Election.
FEFA conducts observation of the process, currently with over 80 observers and has on standby 50 additional observers who would join the process as soon as the IEC reaches to its full capacity of 100 teams of auditing per day.
FEFA’s Observation of the audit process in the past five days show that those involved in the process, especially candidates agents, has limited understanding of the audit process and often they lack necessary information on the audit procedures. This has resulted some times in major disagreements among candidate agents and IEC workers. This has caused serious delays and slowed down the audit Process. Therefore, FEFA recommends the followings for an improved process:
1- The Audit & votes invalidation procedure should be finalized immediately; these procedures must be based on accepted UN and International best practices.
2- For better arrangement of the audit teams, the regulation on role of candidates’ agents that also specifies their number in each auditing table, as well as clarifies role of team leaders of the candidates agents, and the seating arrangement for the candidate agents on auditing table should be stipulated.
The IEC auditing teams expects domestic and international observers to “sign” on auditing form. To avoid blurring the role of candidate agents and observers the procedure must clarify if the observers should sign the audit result forms. FEFA declined to sign those forms so far.
3- To prevent any further ambiguity and in order to avoid misperception, the audit areas must be more organized and should be provide with enough lights. Audit tables should be of the same standard and the teams should be arranged in manageable distance from each other.
4- The United Nation Assistant Mission (UNAMA) shall ensure that these procedures are fully implemented and operationalized, so that the confidence to the process can be restored.
5- To provide the audit teams with further support, it should be ensured that for each five audit teams a technical team (Resource Person) is appointed by the UN and the IEC.
Whereas, the UN is requested by the Afghan government and the candidates of the 14 June runoff elections to assume an extended role other than just advisory.
Therefore, FEFA calls on UN to take further the role of an arbiter on instances where disagreement arises between the Candidate agents, or/and candidate agents and IEC.
6- FEFA once again urges the Independent Election Commission to modify and update the electoral calendar including specifying the audit timeline so it can reflect the recently added elements to the electoral process. The updated electoral calendar shall be made public as soon as possible
7- To prevent delay in the process, FEFA also urges the Campaign/ Candidate teams and their technical groups to observe the process based on the agreement they have made already, and if any dispute emerges over the implementation of the rules and procedures, they should seek advice of IEC officials or UP representatives.
8- In order to increase public awareness confidence on the process, the Afghanistan Radio and Television (RTA), which is a public service entity should provide full and live broadcast of the audit process on daily bases.
9- In order to prevent further miscommunication and misreporting, the Independent Election Commission must conduct regular briefing and orientation to the respected members of media on all audit procedures and outcomes. These orientations and briefings should include detailed introduction to the procedure and information on the audit process.
July 21, 2014: Kabul- Afghanistan