Just hours before the official start of an audit of eight million votes in Afghanistan, negotiations were under way with the electoral authorities to pin down the ground rules. All the votes cast in last month’s presidential runoff are due to be scrutinised under an agreement brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry at the weekend. Afghans heaved a collective sigh of relief when the deal was announced, because it appeared to offer a reprieve just when many feared the country risked slipping back into chaos and violence after both candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, disputed the results. But there are still some hurdles to be overcome. A final “checklist” setting out what constitutes a “suspect vote” still needs to be agreed upon with the electoral authorities. “They’re still trying to draft it now as we speak,” one insider told the BBC on condition of anonymity, as dusk approached on Wednesday evening.
Nato’s International Assistance Force (Isaf) troops are preparing the mammoth logistical challenge of supporting the election authorities by bringing most of the 23,000 ballot boxes from the provinces to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) headquarters in Kabul.
Yet the procedure for disqualifying votes, or giving them the all clear, was still being thrashed out behind closed doors on Wednesday night.
The situation betrays a continued sense of mistrust in the IEC by the competing camps, despite promises of international standards and oversight of the audit by UN technical teams.
The expectation is that it will take about four weeks to complete the audit.
Full Article: BBC News – Questions remain ahead of Afghan election audit.