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CHARIKAR (Pajhwok): Some unsuccessful women candidates in the last year’s Wolesi Jirgaelections claim rigging and fraud prevented their victory in the polls.
The Wolesi Jirga elections were held on October 20-21 across the country apart from Ghazni and Kandahar provinces.
So far the results from 18 provinces have been announced and from the remaining 15 provinces, the Kuchi and minority Hindu constituencies are yet to be announced.
In Parwan, 28 people, including ten women, contested the Wolesi Jirga polls. Sedique Ahmad Usmani, Zakia Sangin, Samia Aziz Sadaat, Mir Rahmani Rahmani, Abdul Zahir Salangi and Abdul Aziz Humayon Harirud were successful candidates from Parwan as per the results.
But some unsuccessful female candidates claim they could not win the polls due to corruption, rigging and fraud.
Haseeba Efat, one of these candidates, who served as the provincial council member, said she contested the lower house polls because she believed it would be fair and transparent.
She added results from polling stations showed she had won 1,300 votes but the Independent Election Commission announced 800 votes for her.
She submitted evidence and other documents to support her claim to the local Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), but not action was taken to address her complaints.
She said the former IECC and IEC commissioners were removed and their names put on Exist Control List (ECL) because of their involvement in electoral fraud.
Aziza Eshani, another unsuccessful candidate, said he wanted to serve the people but he could not make it to the lower house.
She also claimed rigging and fraud during last year’s elections and said buying, selling of votes by other candidates frustrated his victory.
“My observers recorded 2,800 votes from different polling stations, but the commission couunted my votes as 101,” she said.
She said votes in some polling stations were recounted in absence of election observers while election workers invalidated some of her votes under different pretexts.
Khatol Faqirzada, another candidate from Parwan, also said if the elections had been transparent, she would have won.
“I thought democracy is implemented to some extent and elections would be transparent therefore I contested the polls, but the process was full of fraud,” she said.
Faqirzada said she secured 1,600 votes when results from polling stations were announced, but her votes were reduced to 200 when announced by the IEC.
“I saw with my own eyes voters selling their votes against 1,000 afghanis each, I saw election workers directing and encouraging voters to vote for a specific candidate,” she said.
She called the recent Wolesi Jirga elections as the worst elections and accused some local IEC workers of corruption, saying complaints she lodged about her votes were ignored.
A number of other female candidates also claimed corruption in the election process in Parwan.
Ahmad Hanayesh, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) in Parwan, also confirmed rigging and fraud in the Wolesi Jirga elections in Parwan and said his foundation had found 25 instance of law violations during the polls.
“Problems plagued the IEC operational system which had to be assessed and addressed by judiciary organs in time,” he said.
Amanullah Habibi, IEC head for Parwan, said workers of his office did not work in favor of any candidate and those claiming so should provide evidence.
However, he acknowledged some problems such as failure of biometric devices in some polling stations but said they were solved by the IEC.
Claims about stuffing ballot boxes were false as a delegation for assessing these allegations during a recount of votes did not find any votes had missed the biometric check, he said.
Wahidullah Wahidi, IECC secretary in Parwan, said the commission had addressed 429 complaints before initial election results were announced while 20 other complaints registered after the results announcement were still under process in the commission.
 “The recent complaints were about votes without biometric verification, the complainants wanted invalidation of non-biometric votes, this problem was in almost all provinces. Had we started recounting of votes form all 500 polling stations, it would have taken a long time,” he said.
About results of the IECC assessments, he said, “One of the candidates who distributed fake cards to his observers was introduced to the attorney office and was fined. Two IECC workers and six other election officers were also fined.” However, he did not go into details in this regard.

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