Given the current developments, it seems the ongoing saga and controversy surrounding the presidential election know no end. The presidential vote happened about nearly four months back on Sept. 28th last year and its preliminary results were announced on Dec. 22, sparking a fuss among all parties involved. A staggering number of 17,000 complaints were registered with the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) shortly following the announcement of initial returns by the Independent Election Commission (IEC). The IECC says of the total complaints registered, nearly 6,871 have been settled and are ready to be announced while another 7,698 are still being decided. However, another episode in these issues came recently when the IECC announced its decision of recounting ballots from 2,928 polling stations in 25 provinces. Reportedly, it has found discrepancies in the output of these stations and opted for another tally – for a third time now with the previous two carried out by IEC. Now, these monotonous procedures and issues are making the already cumbersome process further complicated.
This is while the IEC seems to be at loggerheads with the IECC on this decision. Wary IEC has rebuked the pronouncement, saying there should be substantial evidence to prove any discrepancy and suspicion in ballots. The decision comes following a meticulous audit of thousands of stations in 28 provinces conducted by IECC, which says the adjudication of complaints will end in the next few days. Meanwhile, IECC notifies that a vote recount strategy for the mentioned polling stations would be shared with IEC in a couple of days and a final decision in this regard will be made within two days. These developments and tensions are only adding to the post-election turmoil and hint at the possibility that this situation would linger on for months. Besides, this lingering election process is proving to be the worst experience for Afghans. Ranging from capital flight and a drop in trade to the uncertainty looming, there are numerous negative impacts of this long-drawn-out process. It will affect the peace process as well because, with no new president in the office, the government has no legitimate and powerful mandate to negotiate with the Taliban. Moreover, given the controversies and fraud allegations by candidates, the last thing the Afghan masses want is tensions between the electoral management bodies. Therefore, the electoral bodies shouldn’t hesitate to cooperate and make all-out efforts to bring this process to an end at last. Also, it’s advisable for them to be impartial, transparent and effective in discharging their duties, in which they haven’t been apparently so promising, otherwise tallying ballots for dozens of times wouldn’t be productive or yield satisfactory results.