President Ashraf Ghani was criticized by a group of presidential candidates for holding a campaign rally on Wednesday inside the Presidential Palace, known as the Arg; they contend this is a violation of election law.
Further, one candidate claims that government officials illegally attended the rally.
The Electoral Complaints Commission has registered many complaints, most of them related to the two frontrunner teams of President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, according to the commission.
Sources said the participants of the campaign rally entered the gathering through the gate of the administrative office of the President.
“It [the place where the gathering was held] is counted as part of the Presidential Palace. If not, why have the T-walls been placed there?” asked candidate Mohammad Hakim Torsan at a campaign rally in Kabul on Friday. (A T-wall is a steel-reinforced concrete blast wall ]. “We wanted to have a gathering there, but were not allowed,” Torsan added.
However, an election commissioner, Gutbuddin Roidar, said Ghani’s team received permission from the Electoral Complaints Commission to hold the event at the palace because they faced security threats elsewhere.
“ [Ghani campaign spokespeople ] said they hold the majority of their campaign rallies at the Loya Jirga tent and people are prohibited from attending because of security-based road closures, therefore, they decided to organize Ghani’s campaign rallies in front of the administrative office of the president,” he said.
Earlier this week, presidential advisor Abdul Hakim Nijrabi attended a campaign rally of President Ghani in Kapisa province.
“No one remembers a greater ‘law-violator’ president than Ashraf Ghani in the history of Afghanistan,” presidential candidate Ahmad Wali Massoud said.
First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum and Acting Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani have also been accused of inappropriate campaign involvement, in one case for attending Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s campaign rallies.
Complaints have also been leveled against the police and military and other security organizations:
“The security forces and security institutions should remain impartial and they should not be misused in the election,” presidential candidate Faramarz Tamanna said.
The Electoral Complaints Commission officials said they have fined 76 government officials for supporting presidential candidates. But TOLOnews has found that Dostum, Nijrabi and presidential advisor Almas Zahid are not among them.
The commission has fined presidential advisor Shahussain Murtazawi and barred him from voting in the upcoming election.