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Complaint tribunal begins partial ballot recount

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s election complaints tribunal has launched another ballot recount in the light of thousands of complaints suggesting fraud in hundreds of voting stations in the country’s high-stakes presidential race.

Earlier the commission announced it had identified more than 3,272 election offences out of thousands of complaints that could possibly lead the election to a second round.

Complaints commission’s deputy spokesperson said Wednesday the panel ruled a ballot recount in 870 polling stations of 25 provinces. Mohammad Reza Fayyaz said the adjudication of complaints continues in all regions and the process is nearing an end.

“We are trying to conclude adjudication process in its stipulated time, which is 36 to 39 days,” he said, not ruling out an extension of 10 to 15 days due to the magnitude of complaints.

Primary results of Afghanistan’s controversial presidential race were announced two weeks ago after over three months of drawbacks over allegations of fraud and vote rigging. Overlooking petitions to scrap over 300,000 controversial votes, state election authorities tallied all ballots and reported that Ghani was the frontrunner with more than 50% of the 1.8 million votes.

The results followed piles of complaints flooding the complaints commission, which launched a major classification of all filed grievances. An aggregate of 16,500 complaints had been filed to challenge the primary output of presidential election. Chief Executive Abdullah who had almost 39% has been challenging the result claiming his rival Ghani had manipulated the polls and stuffed thousands of ballots including one third of his tallied vote.

A majority of grievances – 6,880 – are related to a discrepancy between biometric-based votes and the result sheet. Others are related to gratuitous invalidation of voting stations, suspicious ballots and etc.

The commission is facing a challenge to adjudicate all the complaints within the stipulated time of 15 days. The commission’s head however doesn’t downplay possibility of a slight delay of one or two days in the process in some provinces considering the magnitude of complaints.

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