Audit of Afghan Votes Resumes Following Stoppage

A rigorous audit of all votes cast in Afghanistan’s recent presidential elections has resumed following a 48 hour suspension due to irregularities in certain Afghan electoral organizations and a disagreement in certain technical aspects of the audit. The differences have at least ostensibly been resolved, and the nearly 200 teams of auditors have resumed their efforts to go through approximately 23,000 ballot boxes in order to rule out voter fraud and, if necessary, dispense of fraudulent or illegally cast votes. The election process has already taken longer than any election held in 2014, and with the audit expected to last another two to three weeks, the ultimate duration of the elections, even if the audit is successful and both candidates agree to the results, is uncertain.

Afghan officials, including leading civil society figures, appear to be anxious to see a new president into office, due to a long-standing dissatisfaction with the incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Ashraf Ghani, Karzai’s favorite in the election, and a proponent of a more centrist style of government, led by nearly 14% in the election run-off, a dramatic rise after trailing Abdullah Abdullah by nearly 12% in the first round of elections. Due to a lack of consensus in all voting procedures, both candidates have agreed to resume the audit due to a lack of desire to prolong the process, and have petitioned the United Nations for assistance during the election process, as the credibility of Afghanistan’s electoral body, The Independent Election Commission, was shaken following the resignation of Ziaul Haq Amarkhel, former chief election official and target of fraud accusations by Abdullah. So far, only 1,027 ballot boxes have been inspected.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteppeDispatch

News Briefs: 

  • Hassan Rouhani has publicly stated that he is optimistic the P5+1 nuclear talks will yield a comprehensive nuclear deal that will allow compliance with framework of international regulations on nuclear enrichment under the IAEA. Despite this, lingering questions remain on how many centrifuges exactly will be allowed under a potential deal. With about 18,000 still operational in Iran today, it is unclear if this number will drop to zero, remain stable, or decrease with a nuclear deal.
  • A Ukrainian separatist leader, Alexander Khodakovsky, leader of the Vostok battalion confirmed that his group was in possession of an BUK anti-aircraft missile battery, the same type that Washington has said probably took down the MH17 flight over Donetsk earlier this week. Before the flight was shot down, separatists had boasted of obtaining the missiles, which he said can shoot down airliners at cruising altitudes. Khodakovsky accused Kiev, however, of instigating the use of the missiles, stating that continuous airstrikes had caused the missiles to be fired in the first place.
  • The Turkmenistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan railroad project, stalled many times in recent years, is now back on track after a dispute over the funding of the project. Ashgabat had faulted Afghanistan and Tajikistan for not keeping Turkmen leadership apprised of the planned route, and as a result they withdrew their support and the Asian Development Bank reduced its funding. While this flighty attitude towards potential investments is expected for Turkmenistan, whose position has made it the crux of many development projects in recent months. It may understandably be skeptical about the railway’s prospect for success through war-torn Afghanistan and economically depressed Tajikistan.
  • Kyrgyzstan has decreased irrigation supply into Kazakhstan to a great degree after Kazakh authorities have held up Russian petroleum bound for Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz government officials have reported that about 70% of its reserve irrigation water has been depleted and Bishkek has begun to experience shortages of water. Matching this explanation are reports that the Kyrgyz government has introduced limits on the water supply to various regions of the country, and that there is a drought currently taking place. Additionally the Kyrgyz government cited an unusually small shortage of water this year.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s