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Editorial: The law of the jungle

It’s been nearly five months but the fate of the last year’s presidential election hasn’t been determined yet. Dominantly marred by fraud and mired in controversies, the results of the September’s polls are still in the doldrums, rendering the future of Afghanistan in limbo. The current situation has also resulted in making public confidence in the electoral management bodies to be at a low ebb. In a recent development, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has begun a partial recount of votes cast in the polls to sift out fraudulent ballots. According to IEC, the recurrent vote recount and audit processes are going to be initially conducted in four provinces in the presence of observing institutions, electoral complaints commission and election teams and then extended to other provinces. But some electoral tickets don’t agree to it at all. The recount comes after a decision of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) earlier last week regarding recounting 10% of 137,630 suspicious ballots and 15% of 102,000 late ballots. These overall 300,000 ballots have been the bone of contention between the leading electoral camps, triggering repetitive calls for a major recount. Surprisingly, the Stability and Partnership presidential election team, led by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, has meanwhile warned of withdrawing from the election process and said the masses would not accept a fraudulent result as it believes IEC had started audit and recount of votes in a number of provinces without the presence of observers of IECC, candidates and oversight institutes and a working plan. This conflict of interest among electoral tickets and electoral bodies primarily that each stakeholder is attempting to derive personal benefit from this process.  Moreover, a devoted supporter of Abdullah, Karim Khalili, who is leading Hezb-i-Wahdat Islami Party, including some other politicians in opposition, has announced plans to form a parallel government if final results of the presidential election gave lead to the already frontrunner Ashraf Ghani. Given the status quo, when everyone is trying to fortify their status and positions of power, the country is beset by uncertainty and gradually degenerating into a violent spiral once again. These warnings to form a parallel government marks an escalation of tension and signifies that a country where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of politico still remains elusive for Afghan masses. It’s is because everybody is sticking to their guns and claiming victory in the crisis-hit polls. The current deadlock is a forewarning that something similar to the controversial 2014 presidential race is going to transpire and we will witness formation of an yet another unlawful regime at the behest of American intervention.

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