KABUL – Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) announced on Thursday that all votes cast in Kabul in the country’s Oct. 20 parliamentary elections were invalid due to the widespread charges of irregularities and fraud recorded in the voting.
“The votes cast in the Kabul province on 20-21 October are invalidated under the directions of the Election Law,” Ali Reza Rohani, a spokesman for the IECC, told a press conference in Kabul.
The spokesman said they received 2,767 complaints in Kabul regarding “election irregularities, fraud, electoral crimes, and violations of the election law by the election commission.”
There are documents and proof that support the accuracy of the claims, which if true threaten the “fairness and transparency of the process,” he said. The materials of at least 73 polling stations were moved from their original sites for the sake of fraud, he added.
The decision was taken after “all complaints regarding voting were assessed and handled one by one, and the problems and challenges in the process were professionally assessed and analyzed by the commission,” said IECC Chairman Abdul Azizi Ariaey, speaking at the same event.
All votes in Kabul have been annulled, and the election will be conducted again in the province, he added.
Kabul accounts for more than a quarter of the 4 million votes around cast around the country, and holds 33 of the 250 seats in parliament.
The IECC suspended at least five employees of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), and fined them $1,300 each.
The suspended officials include Ahmad Shah Zamanzai, head of the secretariat of the IEC, and Awla Rahman Rodwal, provincial chief of IEC for Kabul. The charges against these and other IEC employees will be investigated and decided on later.
The primary results of the parliamentary elections of more than half of the country’s 33 provinces were announced over the past two weeks. The remaining results will be revealed over the coming days by the IEC.
The results for Kabul were scheduled to be announced on Dec. 1, but were delayed for weeks due to technical difficulties and recounts, before being invalidated by the IECC.