Afghan rival camps concerned over further delay in poll results

Newly graduated Afghan National Army soldiers march during a ceremony at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul after a three-month training program. (AP)
Updated 29 October 2019

Afghan rival camps concerned over further delay in poll results

  • Independent Election Commission says outcome will be published on Nov. 14

KABUL: The camps of the two frontrunners in Afghanistan’s presidential election voiced concern on Monday about a further delay in the announcement of last month’s poll results.

On the basis of the timeline of the election, which was already delayed twice and saw the lowest turnout of any ballot held in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s ouster, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) failed to release the preliminary results on Oct. 19.

Officials of the government-appointed body said at the time that the IEC would announce the results within a week. 

But on Sunday the head of the IEC, Hawa Alam Nuristani, said the outcome would be published on Nov. 14, which will push back the declaration of the final results too.

The IEC cited technical issues and hacking of its server as the main reasons for the delay. 

This has created skepticism that the process will create a crisis similar to the 2014 polls, which progressed to the second round and led to — based on a deal brokered by Washington — Ashraf Ghani becoming president and his arch rival Abdullah Abdullah becoming chief executive.

FASTFACT

Afghanistan welcomed the killing of Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as a major blow to terrorism that is expected to weaken the South Asian branch of the Middle Eastern militant group.

“Despite the fact that we’re concerned about any delay (in the announcement of the poll results), if that aids the transparency of the election then it’s bearable,” Fazl Ahmad Manawi, a chief manager for Abdullah, told Arab News.

Harun Mir, an official representing Ghani’s side, said: “We see no legal or moral justification for delaying the results. People expect the IEC to explain with transparency the reasons for it.”

Officials of the two camps said divisions between IEC commissioners, the partiality of some of the nominees and poor management were the causes for the postponement.

Asked if the delay was part of a compromise to allow the resumption of US talks with the Taliban so the group is given a share in the future setup, Manawi said: “I don’t see any political plot, but anything is possible in Afghanistan.”

The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, is currently in Kabul, where he has met with Ghani, Abdullah and other influential Afghan politicians to discuss resuming talks with Taliban.

The Taliban wants the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan, considers Ghani’s administration a US “puppet,” and says it will not accept elections under occupation.

Speaking at the Council of Ministers meeting on Monday, Abdullah said both the talks and election process were very important for Afghanistan.

“We must act on opportunities for peace, but at the same time we mustn’t forget a transparent election result,” he added.

“A transparent election will rescue democracy and the democratic process, and will bring stability to the country. We’re asking the IEC to keep its independence for the remainder of the process.”


Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

Updated 18 January 2020

Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

  • Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies
  • “We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” a leader said

PIARACU: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to open up the Amazon to mining companies was tantamount to “genocide,” indigenous leaders said Friday at a meeting to oppose the government’s environmental policies.
Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which have seen deforestation in the jungle nearly double since the Brazilian leader came to power a year ago.
“Our aim was to join forces and denounce the fact that the Brazilian government’s political policy of genocide, ethnocide and ecocide is under way,” the group said in a draft manifesto drawn up at the end of the summit.
“We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” the text said.
They also said that “government threats and hate speech” had encouraged violence against Amazon communities and demanded punishment for the murder of indigenous leaders.
At least eight indigenous leaders were killed last year.
Brazil’s leading indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire, said Thursday he would personally travel to the capital Brasilia to present the meeting’s demands to Congress.
“Over there, I’m going to ask Bolsonaro why he speaks so badly about the indigenous peoples,” said the 89-year-old leader of the Kayapo tribe.
Preliminary data collected by the National Institute for Space Research showed an 85 percent increase in Amazon deforestation last year when compared to 2018.