Atmar’s votes will be counted, says IEC commissioner
Feature Stories - November 6, 2019

Atmar’s votes will be counted, says IEC commissioner

KABUL (Pajhwok): Presidential candidate Mohammad Hanif Atmar has not officially revoked his candidacy and votes cast for him during the September 28 election will be counted, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Tuesday.

Ahead of the presidential vote, Atmar announced halting his election campaign citing lack of trust in the ruling election teams, but during the polls some people voted for him.

Atmar’s team had also announced it would not participate in the September 28 polls.

Atmar’s votes will be counted:

The names, photos and signs of all 18 candidates were printed on the ballot papers, but according to IEC Commissioner Rahima Zarifi, votes polled for candidates Zalmay Rasoul, Shaida Abdali, Ibrahim Alokozai and Noorul Haq Ulomi will not be counted because they had submitted a particular form of renouncing their candidacies while Atmar did not submitted any such form.

The IEC in its Decision No. 94 says that votes for the above four candidates will not be counted and the amount of cash they had submitted with the commission as pre-condition will not be returned.

Rahima Zarifi, IEC commissioner, said Atmar’s votes will be counted because he had not formally informed the commission about his decision and had not filled the form regarding renouncing the election race.

To a question if Atmar had collected many votes, she said it would become clear in the preliminary election results.

Consequently, the valid votes for Atmar will be counted as part of the total number of valid votes that will be used to calculate the absolute majority needed to win the presidential election. The votes for the four candidates who renounced their candidacies will not be used to calculate the absolute majority.

But Qader Shah, spokesman for Peace and Modernity Team led by Atmar, said they had informed the IEC about their decision and their votes would not be counted. “Because people did not vote for us and if someone mistakenly voted for us, than it is a separate issue.”

He promised to share more details in this regard after consultation with their legal advisor but Qader Shah could not be reached for comments in two days..

Atmar votes will be counted at a time when one of his deputies had announced support for another election team.

Mohammad Mohaqiq and Mohammad Younis Qanoni were Atmar’s running mates in the presidential election, but after suspension of his election campaign Mohaqiqi joined the Stability and Partnership team led by Abdullah Abdullah.

Zarifi said issues related to resignation of the deputies were made clear in Decision No. 95 of the IEC, which says, “If deputies of a candidate part ways without tendering formal resignation, the candidate shall deal with his deputies in line with Article 68 of the Constitution.”

Article 68 of the Constitution says: “In case any of the Vice-Presidents resign or die, another person shall be appointed by the President with the endorsement of the House of the People. In case of simultaneous death of the President and the First Vice-President, the Second Vice-President, the President of the House of Elders, the President of the House of Representatives and the Foreign Minister shall succeed respectively and, in that order, and, according to Article Sixty-Seven of this Constitution, shall assume the duties of the President.”

Election monitors blame the IEC:

Yusof Rashid, head of the Free and Fair Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), said it was the responsibility of IEC to have asked Atmar regarding the introduction of two new deputies or revoking his nomination for presidency.

Referring to the fact that without deputies, the Peace and Moderation team was incomplete, he said: “There is no doubt people have not voted to this candidate and from my point of view if people voted for him, it is invalid.”

Ahmad Sohib Hasrat

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