AT News Report
KABUL: Ambassador of Canada to Kabul, Dave Metcalfe on Tuesday has visited the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) National Tally Centre and met with the leadership of the IEC and its Secretariat.
Ambassador Metcalfe had the opportunity to see firsthand how the integrity of the tally sheets is verified before being scanned, how the data is double-checked by two independent units before being transferred to the central data bank, and how the ballots are handled to prevent any manipulation.
“I am impressed by the diligence with which the tally operation is performed. The IEC staff are working to ensure that for every step of the operation, only valid votes are counted toward the official results. The checks and balances implemented by the IEC represent a new standard for Afghan elections.”
Ambassador Metcalfe also noted that observers were given access to all the operation sites and encouraged presidential candidates to fully take advantage of this opportunity to support the transparency of the elections.
“Observation is a key-component of fair and transparent elections. It is the responsibility of all the presidential candidates to deploy their own observers so that they can report any concern or complaint to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission.”
The Canadian Ambassador also called on presidential candidates and their supporters to be patient and to refrain from making statements and allegations until the results are released by the Independent Electoral Commission.
Ambassador Metcalfe thanked the IEC for allowing him to have a firsthand view of the vote tabulation in Kabul. “This is a clear demonstration of transparency.” He congratulated the Commissioners for the impressive amount of work that has been accomplished since their appointment last spring, and for the orderly management of the presidential election. He also hailed the work of the IEC Secretariat, which is primarily involved in the tally operation. The Canadian Ambassador noted that the Afghan security forces did an impressive job in maintaining security at polling facilities during and after the vote, despite the threats and attempts by the Taliban to disrupt the electoral process.
“Most importantly, I commend Afghans for exercising their vote September 28th and demonstrating their commitment to democracy in Afghanistan.”
Ambassador Metcalfe recognized that presidential candidates are eager to get the election results, but requested their patience to allow the IEC and its Secretariat to complete its important work without undue pressure. He also expressed the hope that unsuccessful candidates will demonstrate their professionalism, accept the verdict of democracy and willingly congratulate the winner chosen by the Afghan people.