Following the announcement today by an Afghan presidential candidate that he will suspend cooperation with the electoral process, the United Nations has called for respect of the country’s Constitution and laws, as well as its independent electoral institutions.
In a press statement, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it learned of the decision of Abdullah Abdullah to suspend his campaign’s cooperation with the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) at his press conference today, in addition to his suggestion that a commission under UN supervision be created to oversee the election process.
Dr. Abdullah has reportedly alleged massive fraud in the early tallies from the 14 June run-off vote that also included Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. The winner will replace President Hamid Karzai in the country’s first-ever democratic handover of power.
In the wake of Dr. Abdullah’s announcement, UNAMA chief Ján Kubiš said “regrettable as this step may be, we will continue to engage closely with both campaigns and the electoral commissions, consulting with them on a way forward.” He also recalled the code of conduct signed by both candidates where they pledged to cooperate with the electoral commissions.
“We believe that the electoral process should continue as laid out in the laws passed by the National Assembly. In particular, the mandate of the electoral institutions – [IEC] and the [IECC] – must be respected,” he added.
“For their part, the electoral bodies have to demonstrate the highest levels of transparency and integrity and continue to proactively respond to valid candidate concerns,” Mr. Kubiš continued. “All efforts should be made to ensure that all valid votes are counted and all invalid ballots rejected – such efforts will have our full support.”
With the utmost concern, the UN Mission noted that appeals to circumvent or abandon the legal process and framework and appeal directly to supporters could incite violence. Indeed, some people have already called for civil disobedience and some incidents have already taken place, UNAMA said in its statement.
As such, UNAMA strongly urged the candidates to take all steps necessary to control their supporters to prevent them from making any irresponsible statements and from taking steps that could lead to civil disorder and instability.
In addition, the Mission urged the candidates and their supporters to act in the national interest and reminded them of their personal and political responsibility for peace, stability and the unity of the country.