The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission’s (IECC) committee tasked to investigate reports of links between some candidates and illegal armed groups said Thursday that names of at least eight candidates have been dropped from the list of parliamentary election candidates.
IECC chief Aziz Aryayee said that out of 230 complaints lodged within the commission, a decision has been made on at least 50 of them, adding that the commission will finalize their decisions regarding all complaints by midnight Thursday.
Aryayee stated that government institutions did not cooperate fully by providing information about these candidates who have been accused of having ties with illegal armed groups. They said this problem delayed the assessment process.
According to Aryayee, complaints were also lodged against female candidates and that some of these women have also been dropped from the list.
“The assessment of fifty complaints lodged against 31 candidates have been finalized, names of eight candidates have been removed from the list, 14 others were acquitted, some others were warned that if complaints proved to be true in the future, their names would be removed from the list,” added Aryayee.
Based on the electoral calendar, the IECC is supposed to release the results of its assessments to the Independent Election Commission (IECC) by Wednesday.
But, Aryayee at the same time alleged that pressure on government delayed the release of information about these candidates.
“External pressure on government was enormous, not to provide the information, and this delayed our work,”Aryayee said.
Meanwhile, officials from Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) have welcomed the move by the IECC’s special committee to crackdown on controversial candidates.
IWA has called on the attorney general’s office and National Directorate of Security (NDS) to provide credible information about the candidates having ties with illegal armed groups.
“We call on the national security council and the Afghan government to convene an emergency meeting and handover all information they have about the candidates,” said IWA CEO Ekram Afzali.
In addition, a number of political parties and political movements have said that the IECC has dealt politically with some of the candidates.
“These issues should not be discussed during the candidacy process. Based on the law, those who have been accused of violating the law can’t be there. This action by government paves the way for dictatorship and provides ways to the election commission for misuse (of authority),” said Anwarul Haq Ahadi, chairman the New National Front party of Afghanistan.
The IECC is scheduled to wrap up its assessment of the complaints filed against the candidates by August 2.
The IECC is expected to disqualify candidates who are involved in security issues, coordinated crimes, drug smuggling, and misuse of public and private assets.