IEC Announces Preliminary Results
KABUL, Oct 19 – The Independent Election Commission said on Wednesday it had nullified 1.3 million votes, nearly a quarter of the 5.6 million votes cast in last month’s Wolesi Jirga election, saying that while the election had been a success, “the fact that we have annulled over a million votes is an acknowledgment of the fact that there have been problems. But we did our best in very difficult circumstances.”
Fazl Ahmad Manawi, IEC chairman, was speaking at a press conference flanked by all members of the commission to announce the preliminary election results. The number of legitimate votes cast in this election, he said, was 4,265,347.
The IEC chair said that the commission is in the process of evaluating the conduct of the IEC staff across the country. “Many of our staff will receive rewards for their good work, but hundreds of them will be referred to the ECC (Electoral Complaints Commission) and would be punished for breaking the people’s trust and not performing their duties the way they should have done.”
The announcement of the results had been delayed twice. Manawi said that the IEC commissioners and other staff had worked through the night in order to ensure the transparency and fairness of the elections and to announce the election results with minimal mistakes. He said that he and his commissioners have not slept the previous night in order to work on rooting out any possible inaccuracies in the results.
The IEC has also referred 224 candidates to the ECC for allegedly violating electoral laws and attempting to rig the elections. Moreover, from the 17,744 polling stations open on the election day, the IEC has recounted and reevaluated 3,345 polling stations from 34 provinces; of these the IEC has nullified the votes of 2,543 polling stations—about 14% of the total.
Manawi did not directly address accusations in the media that the IEC was succumbing to external pressure to accommodate election results according to the political needs of the government, but he thanked the government for respecting the independence of the IEC.
Today’s results are preliminary. They need the ECC’s approval after dealing with the complaints to be finalized. However, the IEC chairperson declared his contentment with the fact that the two seats in Nimroz province both have gone to two female candidates. This he declared is a positive step towards the progress of women in this country.
Here are some details of the results released by the IEC Wednesday:
§ Number of open Polling Stations: 17,744 (Male PSs: 10,170 – Female PSs: 6,729 – Kuchi PSs: 845);
§ Total turnout: 5.6 million;
§ Total Valid Votes: 4.27 million;
§ Total Invalid Votes: 1.30 million;
§ Total Male Valid Votes: 2.48 million
§ Total Female Valid Votes: 1.66 million
§ Total Suspicious Polling Stations: 3,345 in 34 provinces;
§ Total Invalid Polling Stations: 2,543;
§ Total Candidates who are to accused of committing fraud and whose names have been referred to the ECC: 224;
§ All two candidates from Nimroz province are female;
§ Total number of Female winners: 69