[JURIST] Afghanistan's Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC) [official website] said on Sunday that there have been more more incidents of serious fraud reported in the April presidential election than the previous election in 2009, when more than a million suspect votes were thrown out. The April 5 vote has been praised [Reuters report] because of the high voter turnout and the failure of Taliban militants to stage attacks on election day. However, evidence of widespread fraud could undermine the legitimacy of the election. The IECC has recorded a total of 3,724 complaints, 870 of which are classified as "Priority A," complaints considered serious enough to affect the outcome of the election. The previous 2009 election had a total of 3,072 complaints and 815 Priority A incidents. The number may rise as incidents reported in the provinces reach Kabul. The final results of the election are due on May 14.
Afghanistan's 2014 presidential election will mark the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in the nation's history. However, numerous human rights and violence issues still remain to be tackled. In February the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] issued [JURIST report] the 2013 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict [text, PDF], which found a total of 8,615 civilian casualties in 2013, a 14 percent increase since 2012. Also in February Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai [official website] ordered changes [JURIST report] to controversial proposed legislation which rights groups believe would effectively deny women protection from domestic violence and forced marriage. In January a spokesperson for President Karzai said [JURIST report] that the administration would be releasing seventy-two prisoners the United States considers dangerous militants from Bagram prison, stating that there was not enough evidence to continue to hold them.