The IEC’s chief said the commission would not be responsible for any delays in the election process in the wake of protest action.
IEC Responds To Closure Of Their Offices By Protestors
The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) on Monday issued a declaration on the disqualification of some candidates and said that the forced closure by protestors of the commission’s office was not acceptable.
“Forced closure by protesters of the commission's offices was not acceptable and that in doing this, unnecessary delays can be experienced,” said IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad.
The commission again stated that disgruntled candidates need to take up the matter with the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC).
The IEC chief said the disqualified candidates need to also take up their issues with individuals and organizations that lodged complaints against them.
Dozens of supporters of six disqualified candidates launched protest action outside the IEC’s head offices in Jalalabad Road in Kabul on Monday morning.
In doing so, the protestors, who set up tents in the immediate area, effectively prevented IEC employees from going to work.
Early Monday afternoon, police however stopped a suicide bomber from gaining access to the protestors.
The suicide bomber did however detonate his explosives, killing at least one policeman and wounding one other.
This comes a day after the IEC said a number of parliamentary election candidates, who have been disqualified, warned the commission not to announce the final list of names.
According to the IEC, the 35 disqualified candidates said they will embark on protest action if their names are removed from the final candidate list.
The IEC chief Abdulbadi Sayyad meanwhile said on Monday afternoon that the disqualified candidates have asked the commission to postpone the announcement of the final list and the draw to determine the order of candidate names on ballot papers.
He said the disgruntled candidates need to take up the matter with the IECC and with organizations and individuals that lodge the original complaints against them.
In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) meanwhile welcomed the progress on the election process in Afghanistan.
“The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomes the recent progress made toward Afghanistan’s parliamentary polls, including candidate vetting and other preparations required for printing ballots on schedule, as testament to Afghanistan’s successful ownership of the electoral process,” UNAMA said in the statement.
“While preparations are on track for holding parliamentary elections on 20 October, all parties must perform their respective roles to ensure the necessary timelines and conditions are met,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“The government, the electoral management bodies and the country’s political leaders carry the primary responsibility to create the necessary conditions for credible elections to take place.”
UNAMA, in accordance with the mandate entrusted by UN member states, remains committed to working with Afghan institutions as they implement reforms to enhance transparency and build trust in Afghanistan’s democratic processes, including by promoting the participation of women as voters and as candidates.
“The electoral management bodies have demonstrated that they can respond to constructive criticism, but they need the support of all stakeholders,” said Yamamoto.
“All Afghans have a stake in successful elections, and it is therefore crucial for all Afghans to exercise their civic duty and participate in Afghanistan’s democratic processes.”
According to the IEC, 2,561 candidates are on the final list – which was scheduled to be announced on Monday.
A number of parliamentary election candidates who face disqualification in the elections said on Sunday the IECC’s move was an “unfair and political move”.
On Sunday, IECC commissioners were not in their offices to respond to questions about the disqualified candidates.
The commission’s offices were however heavily guarded and security forces were stationed around the building.