Thursday, August 21, 2014
Afghanistan: We Will Protect People's Votes: Abdullah
At a meeting hosted by members of the Reform and Convergence Team on Thursday afternoon, presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah asserted that the audit process should bring justice, adding that his team will monitor every step of the process before making final decisions. "We want the audit process to bring justice," he said. "I assure the people of Afghanistan that we are determined to protect their votes." Moreover, Abdullah stressed on the significance of maintaining the legitimacy of the election process, stating that people's votes should not be tampered with. "Defending votes is not about getting power; it is about defending the rights of the people of Afghanistan," he stated while claiming that his team has genuine votes from various provinces around the country. Abdullah also emphasized that safeguarding people's trust is an important part of his leadership. "The only thing we have is the people's trust; we will not give it up in exchange for anything," Abdullah stressed. The statements came as recent disputes in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) have once again raised concerns and uncertainties about the future of the election process. In addition, Abdullah urged on the political negotiations with Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on the formation of national unity government, but maintained that the negotiations are not asking for privileges. "The political process doesn't mean asking for privileges. Talks are underway and we will have a negotiation ready in the next few days." But, Abdullah's second vice runner mate Mohammad Mohaqeq criticized the auditing procedures and declares the election commission as the main element behind the frauds. "You saw the episode of the fat and skinny sheep's became the headline; Amarkhail resigned and left the sheep's for others, we have always said that Amarkhail and Saadat played a role in the electoral frauds, but no one listened to us," Mohammad Mohaqeq said. Meanwhile, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's team has asked that audit process and invalidation of votes are transparent and valid. Abdullah and his rival Ashraf Ghani held a meeting on Wednesday focusing on the formation of the national unity government.