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Watchdog warns election panels against ‘confrontation’

AT News

KABUL: Any confrontation arising between the two election commissions will incontrovertibly stymie the sweeping ballot audit and recount, said Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan, amid a rift that recently broke out between the duo panels over a controversial recount.

This state of opposition and confrontation has incapacitated both the commissions in reaching a rational and mighty solution to the election conundrum, said a statement issued by the watchdog.

Earlier this week, electoral complaints commission criticized the election commission for distorting its decisions for a partial recount of 300,000 controversial ballots.

Electoral commission on Sunday began a partial recount of votes cast in the country’s September 28 presidential polls to sift through fraudulent ballots.

The vote recount and audit is initially conducted in four provinces in presence of observing institutions, electoral complaints commission and election teams and then extended to other provinces, according to the Commission’s spokesperson, Zabih Sadat.

“We will try our best to implement the audit at the earliest. It may take one week. But it all depends on cooperation of all stakeholders,” he said.

The recount came after a decision of the electoral complaints commission earlier last week to retally 10% of 137,630 suspicious ballots and 15% of 102,000 belated ballots. These overall 300,000 ballots were the bone of contention between the leading electoral camps, triggering repetitive calls for a major recount.

The decision is backed by the frontrunner Ashraf Ghani’s camp but boycotted by his rival Abdullah Abdullah’s team. Fereydoon Khozon, a spokesman for Abdullah’s camp said that their observers will not attend the conduct of the recount. “We won’t attend unless all stakeholders including the complaints commission and observing team participate in the recount,” he said.

Emphasizing on participation of all electoral teams, the election commission has said that a failure of the teams to show up won’t deter the recount process.

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