Afghan EC certifies parliamentary winners

Afghanistan`s EC would issue winners` certificates to successful candidates.

Kabul: Afghanistan`s election commission said on Sunday it would issue winners` certificates to successful candidates in parliamentary polls, despite an ongoing fraud probe into the controversial results.

The move by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) follows a decision by the attorney general to investigate claims of corruption in the vote, and to criticise the IEC for "prematurely" releasing the disputed results.

The top prosecutor has arrested nine people over the fraud claims and summoned four election officials for questioning, including two from the IEC.

But the investigation has been dismissed as politically motivated by electoral officials, who say the attorney general is being manipulated by the government which is said to be unhappy with the vote outcome.
In accordance with electoral law, the IEC "will distribute certificates to all winning candidates", the body said in a notification to winners, asking them to appear at their office on Monday to collect their certificates.

One of the IEC officials accused by the attorney general`s office, spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor, has dismissed the allegations and refused to comply with the summons.

The IEC, the top vote body in the country, released nearly all official results about two months after Afghans went to the polls and cast some 5.6 million ballots.

The announcements were delayed after election officials threw out a quarter of votes cast in the September 18 poll and disqualified 24 early winners, including Karzai allies, after processing more than 5,000 fraud claims.
Ahmad Zia Rafat, a commissioner and spokesman for the
Electoral Complaint Commission, who has also been summoned, said the bodies had behaved properly, and has vowed not to "bow down to any kind of pressure by anyone".

Afghan political analysts say the September election appears to have dealt Karzai dwindling support in parliament at a key juncture in efforts by 140,000 US-led NATO troops to defeat a nine-year Taliban insurgency.

Significantly, the president has stopped short of endorsing the results.

The tit-for-tat accusations between the election bodies and prosecutor`s office have been accompanied by street protests over the second Afghan parliamentary election to be held since the 2001 US-led invasion evicted the Taliban.

Bureau Report