EU Monitoring Mission Stresses On Neutrality of Electoral Bodies

Sunday May 4, 2014 Kabul (BNA) The European Union election observer delegation, which overseen the April 5 presidential and provincial councils elections, has appreciated the job of the country and the courage and determination which the nation presented on the elections day. In a press release, the European Union election observer team welcomed Monday the release of the preliminary results of the polls by Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) and urged that bilateral cooperation between the election bodies and the observers were encouraging and positive. “The cooperation between the electoral administration and the EU Election Assessment Team (EU EAT) has been excellent,” Thijs Berman, EU Election Assessment Team Chief Observer said. “EU experts have been able to monitor the tallying of the votes in an open and professional way,” Berman noted, adding that “We invite the Independent Election Commission to increase transparency and publish online all preliminary results per polling station,” In addition, the frontrunners candidates have called on the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) to maintain their neutrality and impartiality in tallying the votes. “The election process must to an end in transparent manner and the results must be announced according to the aspiration of Afghan people, two electoral bodies of the country must pursue transparency and honesty, because the people of Afghanistan accepts only credible elections,” presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah said. Meanwhile, Abdullah’s main rival Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has also stressed the need for transparency of the electoral administration to conduct duties with honesty and truth. Election observers’ institutions in the country have also urged on the protection of public votes and credibility of the elections. The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) has urged that the electoral bodies of the country must pursue fairness and transparency in the election process. “People trusted the process and voted,” head of Free and Fair Election Association (FEFA) Nader Naderi said. “It is now the responsibility of the election commission, observing institutions and media to closely review and count the votes and maintain people’s trust.” The observers have strongly appreciated the firm determination of the people of Afghan people that despite threats and security challenges voted in the elections and proved their patriotism. Political commentators say that the people of Afghanistan in the elections undermined all the possible challenges on way of the election process and their votes must be protected with fairness and honesty so that the country comes out of the conflicts and crisis. “Security threats constituted the main concerns of the electoral bodies and the people, fortunately, election were conducted in a peaceful environment,” political analyst Ali Rahmani said. “Now the people await outcomes of the elections, the EU observers in joint cooperation with domestic institutions should work to ensure transparency of the elections.” The people expect that the government will also try in its part to make sure the transparency of elections. “People of Afghanistan expect more from the elections, but people also maintain some apprehensions about the elections,” Kabul resident farishta said. On Saturday, the IEC announced the preliminary results, with Dr. Abdullah in the lead with 44.9 percent of the votes, followed by Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai who obtained 31.5 percent and Dr. Zalmai Rassoul who won 11.5 percent. This comes at a time that the EU EAT had sent at least 16 international experts from 13 European countries that arrived in Kabul since March 15 to monitor April 5 presidential elections.

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