IEC Criticized Over New Scheme For Voter Registration

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) will not stamp original identity cards of voters, but instead it will stamp a hard copy of ID cards to ensure the safety of voters, the Presidential Palace said.

The decision was announced following a meeting of President Ashraf Ghani and election commissioners at the Presidential Palace on Thursday evening.

A political affairs analyst, Asif Ashna, told TOLOnews that a number of election commissioners were against the move, but President Ghani has asked them to resign if they are opposing the decision.

“The Presidential Palace has tried to impose its view on the Independent Election Comission about stamping of hard copies of identity cards. Four member of the election commission have signed a statement and have said stamping copies of identity cards is against election transparency. But the Presidential Palace has issued a statement, and based on my accurate information, this statement is issued to impose the decision on Independent Election Commission and interfere affairs of the institution,” Ashna added.

The move was criticized by monitoring organizations and political parties.

One member of Jamiat-e-Islami Party said the decision will provide the ground for major election fraud.

“This is a direct interference, especially when the president asks those who are against it to resign. It questions the independency of the Independent Election Commission. It is a direct interference of President (Ashraf Ghani) in IEC affairs and we are worried about it,” Noor Mohammad Akhlaqi, member of Jamiat’s leadership, told TOLOnews.

TOLOnews could not get comments of IEC despite repeated attempts.

Article 19 of the Independent Election Commission Law says that only IEC has the authority to create and prepare alternative executive approaches if the previous one does not work.

“No doubt, we are going to face such challenges as the election commission cannot define its decisions and cannot make its decisions independently” said Yusuf Rasheed, CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.

Stamping the copy of ID cards has turned into a tough issue among the social media users as well.

Former head of the National Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh has said that the move will provide the ground for fraud in the upcoming elections.

“Fraud again. Print Ashraf Ghani has exempted his so called constituency (places he got more real & fraudulent vote) from scrutiny and burdensome procedures that rest of the citizens have to undergo to register as voters. This is institutionalization of fraud in the name of security,” Saleh tweeted on Thursday.

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