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News Analysis: Afghan election deadlock splits conflict-ridden country

English.news.cn   2014-06-28 12:19:38

by Haleem

KABUL, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The June 14 runoff polls that could have resulted in a peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan would instead further divide the conflict-ridden country as thousands of protesters took to streets of Kabul on Friday calling for transparency in the election process.

Carrying banners inscribed with slogans, "We want transparent election results", "Our votes must be respected", "Death to those who committed fraud in the election process," the protesters gathered in Pashtunistan Square behind the fortified Arg or Afghan Presidential Palace, threatening to continue their protests if their demands are not met.

So far, there have been no reports of violence during the protest marches. Observers here said the demonstration, which was an offshoot of the objection of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah over alleged fraud and vote rigging in the run-off polls, could push the country into the abyss.

One local observer said that since the security situation in Afghanistan is fragile, when the extremist Taliban are just lurking in the corner, a spark can lead to big fire and eventually take the country back into a chaotic situation.

"Poor management or mismanagement in a national process like presidential elections definitely causes national problems and eventually creates crisis," Kabul University professor and political analyst Saifudin Saihon told Xinhua.

"Since the people have lost their trust in the elections commission, the only way to get out of the election deadlock is to constitute a new fact-finding commission composed of impartial and honest members," Saihon said.

Abdullah, who secured 45 percent of some seven million votes in the April 5 voting against his contender Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who bagged 31.6 percent, has accused the election commission of siding with Ahmadzai in the June 14 runoff and suspended his engagement with the election body last week, saying no decision of the election commission is acceptable unless fake votes are filtered.

To restore working relations with Abdullah's team, the election commission has delayed announcement of partial results of the polls.

However, in a tit-for-tat response, Ghani Ahmadzai termed Abdullah's decision as withdrawal from the election process describing it as "defeat" in the presidential race and demanded that the election body should release the results as scheduled.

"We demand the IEC to announce the preliminary and final results as scheduled as any delay is not negotiable," Ghani Ahmadzai told a press conference here.

Preliminary results of the elections would be announced on July 2 and the final results on July 22, according to the election officials.

Since suspending ties with the election commission, Abdullah's supporters have staged series of demonstrations in Kabul and other cities demanding transparency in the elections results.

"In a country like Afghanistan where the rate of literacy is low and political maturity is not high enough, anything is possible and even a spark can lead to big fire," said Saihon, the analyst.

He also predicted that more demonstrations will be staged in the days ahead.

Another political analyst Jawed Kohistani in talks with a local newspaper the Daily Mandegar warned, "Afghans voted to elect their president but if any illegitimate president is imposed on them, the people would take action to support what they perceived is the duly-elected one and control the situation."

Editor: An
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