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Rising tide of anti-government defiance: Protesters shutter IEC offices in four provinces

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Angry loyalists to the majority opposition alliance shut down four regional offices of the Independent Election Commission on Saturday against what they called the government’s refusal to cave to the demands of politicians in regards with election reforms, sparking fears about further delay in long-dragged parliamentary elections.

Hundreds of supporters of the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan (GNCA) barricaded and shut down offices of the election commission in Kandahar, Herat, and Kunduz and Balkh provinces. They threatened to close IEC offices in other major provinces.

Multitudes of people gathered in Kandahar, Herat, and Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif cities and shut down provincial offices of the IEC in protest to government and its election panel’s turning a blind eye to the political parties’ pleas vis-à-vis rigging in parliamentary election, the GNCA Spokesman Fazul Rahman Orya said.

GNCA and political parties have often submitted drafts and suggestion for running free, fair and nationwide election to the government and IEC since last one and half years, but it was ignored.

He said that in the draft the GNCA and political parties demanded from the government and IEC to bring real reform in IEC.

He said that registration of voters and voting process through biometric system were other demands of the GNCA and political parties.

Seeking monitoring role in election was other demand by the parties, he added.

Pointing to rigging during issuance of tazkera and stickers, he said that we have unveiled over million fake Tazkera and stickers, which is a sign of big fraud in coming election

Government ignored all demands thus today supporter of GNCA and political parties through civil movement shut down the door of provincial IEC offices and it will be expanded to other provinces, he underlined.

Deputy Spokesman for IEC Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi said that peaceful protest is the right of everyone, but have no the right to close the door of a national and impartial organ, which implement a national process.

He said that security organs have the responsibility to address the issue.

Running of such protest is aimed at sabotaging of national process, which is against national interest, he mentioned.

President Deputy Spokesman Shah Husain Mortazavi said that all ways are open for parties whatever is their draft and suggestion for monitoring should be present it to the government.

He said that government has preparation; even it will prepare to computerize and install cameras to monitor the process.

The parties have no special drafts for monitoring of the election process, just trying to sabotage the process, he added.

It is pertained to mention that the political parties closed the IEC provincial offices, while people are at the doorsill of parliamentary election. The IEC has set the October 20 as the date for parliamentary election.

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