Pajhwok Afghan News

Failing Balkh candidates allege political deals on results

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): A number of unsuccessful Wolesi Jirga candidates in the initial results from northern Baklh province on Saturday rejected the results as manipulated in favour of political parties.

Two days earlier, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the initial results of the Wolesi Jirga polls of Balkh province, declaring 11 contestants as winners.

A number of failing candidates from Balkh province held a protest gathering in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital and the election commission to recount the votes.

Maria Rahin, one of the failing candidates, told Pajhwok Afghan News that votes cast in Balkh province should be recounted because the initial results had been based on ‘secret dealsp between government leaders, politicians and the IEC.

“The 11 candidates who are declared winners are members of four political parties, with more than half of them (six) belonging to the Jamiat-i-Islami, two to Wahdat, two to Harakat and one to Hizb-i-Islami parties,” she said.

She said conducting Wolesi Jirga polls together with peace efforts and preparations for the presidential election paved the way for political deals on the results.

“The IEC had been saying it every day that it would announce the election results, but the results were delayed because a political game was at play,” Rahin said.

The government manipulated the results in favour of political parties in Balkh province to please them and win their support ahead of peace talks with the Taliban, she believed.

 “The results our observers collected from polling sites on the Election Day are different from the results announced by IEC,” she said.

Rahin added they would accept the results if the votes were recounted and fraudulent votes separated from genuine ones in presence of election observers.

Dr. Wakil Matin, another failing candidate, said the elections in Balkh should be declared null and should be re-conducted.

He claimed most of the candidates were involved in rigging and spending millions of dollars on campaigns and buying votes.

Najla Habibi, another unsuccessful candidate from Balkh, said the IEC had counted only 30 percent of her votes.

She said the results their observers collected on the Election Day were much different from those announced by the IEC.

She also said votes cast in Balkh province should be recounted for transparency and people’s satisfaction.

She added the IEC should not count votes which missed biometric verification because many candidates had stuffed ballot boxes in districts.

Another candidate, Zamarai Ekramzada, said he had registered around 800 complaints about the vote count process, but none of them were addressed so far.

He also showed some photos to Pajhwok in which children are shown casting votes in ballot boxes in some of Balkh districts.

Ekramzada, who failed in the initial results, asked the government to do justice with them.

Meanwhile, the IEC office in Balkh province rejected the protesting candidates’ allegations as baseless.

Ezatullah Armaan, the IEC head for Balkh, said all votes in Balkh were counted in presence of observers and candidates.

He said the results were announced after the IEC completed vote counts and that no secret deals had been made on the results. Armaan said the unsatisfied candidates could register their complaints before the final results were announced.


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