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MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Protesting Wolesji Jirga candidates in northern Balkh province say the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has not yet delivered on its promise of recounting votes in suspicious ballot boxes.
The candidates, who held a gathering in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, on Saturday warned they would take to the streets if their demands were not met.
One of them, independent candidate Syed Jabbar Agha told Pajhwok Afghan News after a number of candidates registered complaints about rigging and fraud, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) promised to recount votes in suspicious ballot boxes 20 days ago, but nothing happened.
He said people braved threats and exercised their right to vote on Oct 20-21, but due to incompetency and mismanagement of the election commission, the national process faced impediments.
He asked the election commission to respect people’s votes and remove from the system ballots which had been fraudulently used.
Another candidate, Gul Mohammad, who was among failing candidates in the initial list, said people wanted to send their real representatives to the lower house of parliament by going to the elections.
He said the people of Balkh endured hardships and went to polling stations to elect their preferred representatives, but they were deceived and the elections were rigged.
He warned if their demands were ignored, the people of Balkh would emerge on the streets in huge numbers and would not allow those involved in corruption and bloodshed to enter the parliament with bogus mandate.
“Some people are trying to enter the parliament through illegal means, but the people of Balkh would not allow anyone to play with their destiny.”
He said the IEC was not only responsible to separate fraudulent and real votes but to introduce those involved in fraud to the judicial organs.
He said people lost their trust in the Wolesi Jirga polls, they would not participate in the July presidential election. He said people’s trust could only be revived if corrupt election officials were punished.
Another failing candidate Sorya Bawar Omari said the next parliament should be based on clean votes of the masses.
She said the IEC and the IECC had no coordination and this was the reason people did not trust their affairs.
She said she did not want her name to be included in the list of winning candidates but her main demand was justice for those deserving it.
IEC chief for Balkh province, Izzatullah Arman, told Pajhwok that after the IECC chief’s visit to Balkh 20 days back, they had been asked to review votes of more than 600 ballot boxes.
He said they forwarded the demand to the central IEC office which recommended the vote recount only a day earlier.
Arman said the vote recount process of the suspicious 600 ballot boxes would be started two days later.

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