Just 10 days after an agreement was reached to perform a full audit of Afghan ballots cast in the runoff election last month, Abdullah Abduallh walked out for a third time, claiming that audit criteria was not being adhered to. The main issue of dispute is deciding how to handle ballots from polling stations that saw a huge jump in votes cast in the June 14 runoff as compared to the April 5 first round. Both camps agreed on the need to disqualify fraudulent votes.
Head of the IEC , Yusuf Nuristani, said the audit would be suspended until after the holidy of Eid al-Fitr, which occurs at the end of the month of Ramadan, to allow time for the two sides to negotiate. While US Secretary of State John Kerry’s audit deal undoubtedly moved the election in the right direction, both sides are reluctant to cede victory and a unity government as the dispute continues is looking less and less likely. The audit is currently being monitored by hundreds of election officials, both Afghan and foreign.
The recount was suspended on Saturday over an issue on how exactly ballots would be thrown out, an issue that has been causing major disagreements. Mr. Abdullah’s group said it was worried legitimate votes were being disqualified, and are insisting on the vote disqualification procedure approved by the UN. There is still a long way to go, even if the audit does continue. Only 1,671 boxes have been reviewed out of a total of 22,800.
Follow us on Twitter: @SteppeDispatch
- Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have agreed to investigate July 10 border incident together, the Department of Public Relations and Media of the Kyrgyz State Border Service reported. The border agencies met in Isfara, considering causes and circumstances of the shootout that occurred in the Tamdyk regions of Batken province. The only agreed upon item that has been released to the public is the need to reduce the number of guard personnel units stationed on the border.
- Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan’s dispute over electricity is continuing, with Kyrgyzstan claiming that water releases from Ortho-Tokoi and Kirov reservoirs to support the hydroelectric dams from which Kazakhstan draws its electricity is unfeasible, since water levels are so low already. Kazakhstan additionally is demanding the water for agricultural needs, and is demanding recompense for winter electricity shortages. Negotiations between the two countries on the subject were held in Cholpon-Ata.
- Turkmenistan plans to erect the first statue of current President, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow in Ashgabat. The cult of personality that has emerged around Berdymukhamedow mirrors that of the previous leader, Saparmurt Niayzov, known colloquially as the Turkmenbashi. He had erected a golden statue of himself, but it was torn down after his death in 2006 and moved to the outskirts of the capital.
- International monitors are still being prevented from visiting the crash site of MH17 near Donetsk, as fierce fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists continued around the city. Monitors stated they had abandoned plans to visit the site despite the fact that Malaysia had received guarantees from separatist groups that monitors would be allowed access. The Kiev government denied fighting was taking place near the crash site, and separatists are claiming that they were prevented by Ukrainian troops.