HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Residents and some Wolesi Jirga candidates on Saturday rallied in western Herat province and vowed not to partake in the presidential election if the Independent Election Commission (IEC) did not recount votes cast in the Wolesi Jirga polls.
The protesters said only biometric votes were credible and demanded recount of all votes cast in the Oct 20-21 parliamentary elections.
They warned if transparency, justice and fairness in the Wolesi Jirga polls were not ensured, they would boycott the upcoming presidential election.
The protesters, chanting “we want justice” “votes should be recounted” “only biometric votes are credible” held a gathering in front of the Governor’s House building.
Gul Agha, one of the protesters, said the purpose of their protest was to seek justice and said candidates who obtained Wolesi Jirga seats with money were not acceptable.
“If the government doesn’t pay attention to our demands and fails to ensure transparency, we will not participate in the presidential election and will not allow the ballot boxes to reach our localities,” he said.
Ahmad Shafiq Bahrozyan, a Wolesi Jirga candidate, said: “The future parliament and government will have no legitimacy if the government doesn’t respond to the protesters and ensure justice and fairness.”
Eng. Abdul Razeq Hakemi, another Wolesi Jirga candidate, said: “Around 100,000 fake votes were created in the commission and we have launched a campaign for seeking overall justice and transparency in elections.”
Herat IEC Head Ahmad Shah Qanuni said: “Candidates were present in the vote counting process before and after the results were announced, now when the process has gone a long way and we are at the end stage, so how could we address their demands.”
He said if non-biometric votes were declared as invalid country-wide and the process of recount was launched, the Herat IEC would also follow suit.

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