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Editorial: Untrue assurances of announcing poll results

The long-overdue final returns of the Afghan presidential polls – conducted four months back – are still not unveiled but the electoral management bodies have informed of making a decisive announcement in the next couple of days. Last year’s election has been marred by a myriad of fraud allegations with the planned schedule and deadlines repetitively abused by electoral commissions. The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) assures of resolving the long-drawn-out disputes about the controversial 300,000 ballots – which are scrapped ‘bogus’ by the incumbent CEO and presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah. However, the devil is in the details as there are multiple complaints and objections about ballot-stuffing, a discrepancy in result sheets’ votes and the biometrically-verified ones, ballots with biometric-related and belated issues. The recent promise by the electoral body is seemingly not going to be honored once again given the fact that last week a Kabul-based electoral watchdog – named Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan – voiced grave concern over what it said constant ‘political pressures effected on IECC by some certain electoral quarters’. While these uncertainties still haunt Afghan masses, a new tug-of-war is in full swing among President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah – both of whose legal authority have ended ages ago but have still assumed the office due to the postponement of election results. President Ghani is accused of misusing his authority by continuing patronage appointments and reshuffles in high-profile government positions. Meanwhile, CEO Abdullah doesn’t want to lag behind and is seemingly following the suit as his mouthpiece justified the planned reshuffles and sacking of officials to be ordered by Abdullah as his full authority as per the National Unity Government (NUG) agreement. There are speculations that five new ministers and eight governors would be appointed soon by him. These appointments by both NUG leaders under the pretext of reforms and ethnic diversity are ill-timed because their legitimate tenure has ended. They should wait for the final outcome of the election and work for a smooth transition of power, otherwise, these actions at this time signify favoritism and the stuffing of government slots with their own kith and kin. This approach of using authority at the last-minute doesn’t bode well for the country’s future. Moreover, at this hour, the electoral management bodies should refrain from giving false promises but rather make all-out efforts to declare the final results as soon as possible. Besides, the rumors of IECC being under political pressures should also be clarified and if it’s truly the case, the commission should be open about it and share any issue it’s facing with the general public by exposing those involved.

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