Vote-Buying Already a Problem: IEC
[TOLONEWS] Over six months ahead of the spring vote, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has already reported instances of vote-buying, especially in eastern provinces, citing it as one of the biggest threats to the success of the elections.
Anyone who sells his vote has essentially voted for the one who bought it. Not everyone votes for statesmanlike reasons.
The IEC has said that tribal elders and other influential community leaders have started buying voting cards or taking them by force in order to benefit certain candidates.

"Security is not our major concern anymore, tribal leaders are more troublesome because they purchase voting cards from people, they pay people and encourage them to manipulate the election. This extremely concerning. Obviously, over the next two to three months, we will be taking serious measures," said Sareer Ahmad Barmak, a Commissioner of the IEC.

The IEC has said that it will do all that it can to seek punishment for those found responsible for vote-dealing. Barmak encouraged voters to resist the temptation to sell their votes.

"If the tribal elders are encouraging voters for a specific candidate, it is part of democracy, but they can't take voting cards from them either through money or force," explained Barmak.

IEC officials in Nangarhar have reportedly relieved employees in the Mehmand district of their duties due to evidence that they had prepared forged lists and were distributing voting cards to people illegally.

Reports also indicate that voting cards have been sold in Kunduz province in return for a sacks of rice and potatoes.

"Without a doubt, based on the laws of Afghanistan, this is an illegal act. We hope that related institutions such as the IEC will cooperate with us by reporting areas where these incidents take place so that we can make arrests," said Sediq Sediqi, the spokesman for the MoI.

Presidential and Provincial Council Elections will be held on April 5, but it would seem many preparations related to security and the prevention of improprieties remain necessary if there is hope for broad participation and unadulterated results.

Posted by: Fred 2013-10-17