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People involved in vote rigging must be trialed: FEFA

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: Free & Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) on Thursday asked the government to bring to justice those who were involved in fraud in last year’s presidential and provincial councils’ elections.

Program Manager of FEFA, Naeem Asghari, in a press conference here said that the electoral commissions had intentionally violated the laws and as a result the polls went to deadlock.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) have violated around 36 electoral laws, he said, adding that the IEC has violated 27 laws including two articles of the constitution and five times the Law of Structure Duties and Authorities of the electoral commissions. The IECC has also violated the electoral law, and Law of Structure Duties and Authorities at least 10 times. Moreover, the two electoral bodies have also violated the electoral mechanisms.

Misinterpretation of the laws by the commissions was also underlined as violation of laws. Asghari said that some of the organizations responsible for monitoring of the enforcement of the law did not perform their duties efficiently.

“The IEC has not allowed observers and monitors in many areas. Therefore, the role of monitors and observers must be specified. Long-term, mid-term and short –term measures are imperative for bringing reforms and ensuring the electoral commissions are doing their job well and electoral laws are not violated,” he said.

Director of the parliamentary electoral monitoring group Hekmat Safi said the name of those who brought the previous elections to deadlock and committed fraud had to be disclosed.

He showed serious concerns over vote rigging and said that if the perpetrators were not sent behind bars then how the government can assure that future elections are free and transparent. Those who worked honestly should be appreciated, but those who are involved in fraud should be punished, he proposed.

He said that without reforms no one could guarantee that future polls are transparent and free. “Involvement of provincial officials, influential people and electoral staffs in the fraud is very unfortunate,” he lamented while suggesting that the electoral issues should be addressed properly without giving chance to politics to make the situation worse.

Safi added that professional people should be hired and included in the electoral reforms commission as appointments based on political basis would yield no result and bring no positive change.

Computerized national identity cards should be distributed in order to prevent electoral frauds in future, he added.

Executive Director of FEFA, Muhammad Yusuf Rasheed, said that the copy of the report was already shared with the president and Chief Executive Officer in order to help the government in making of the electoral reforms commission more effective.

He asked the president and CEO to focus on the upcoming parliamentary polls as the government is running out of time.

The parliament should finalize amendments in the electoral law as the time is short, he said.

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