MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Supporters of winning Wolesi Jirga candidates on Wednesday closed the provincial Independent Election Commission (IEC) office in northern Balkh province and stopped the recount process of dubious votes.
Two weeks ago, a number of failing candidates in Balkh province staged widespread protests, forcing the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) general head to travel to the province and meet the protestors.
The IECC head had assured the protesting candidates that they would recount votes and separate suspicious votes from genuine ones.
The vote recount process votes was scheduled for today, Wednesday, but supporters of the winning candidates closed the IEC office in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, and forced a halt to the vote recount process.
Nasrullah Farhang, one of the protestors, told Pajhwok Afghan News that there were no evidence about suspicious votes with the failing candidates and the IEC and that was the reason they stopped the recounting process of votes.
He said the central IECC office had sent a letter to its Balkh office for recounting votes in 603 ballot boxes, but no evidence of any suspicions vote was found.
Farhang said the IECC should refer to the electoral law instead of making internal agreements.
“Under the election law, votes of only those ballot boxes should be recounted which are suspicious based on evidence”, he argued.
He said they would not let anyone recount of votes under the pretext of ‘doubts’ without any evidence.
Mohammad Sarwar Anwari, a representative of a winning candidate Abdul Hamid Sharifi in initial results, said the IECC and failing candidates started recounting of votes without consulting them.
“It is unacceptable to us that every failing candidate would come and tell the IEC to recount the votes,” he said.
The protestors in a resolution letter said that failing Wolesi Jirga candidates of Balkh wanted to confront the national election process with problems.
They said the IEC should no longer play with people’s fate and should announce the final results of the October elections.
Meanwhile, Balkh IEC head Ezatullah Arman said that protest was everyone’s right, but said the commission was working according to the country’s laws.
He said complaints of both winning and failing candidates were respectful for them and they were trying to convince both sides.


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