[JURIST] An Afghan election official from the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) warned in a news conference Wednesday that Saturday’s national election may may have suffered a degree of fraud. According to IECC spokesperson Nadir Mohsini In the 48-hour period for filing complaints after the election the IECC received [UNAMA report] 1,573 formal complaints in its offices and another 1,530 complaints were received through telephone calls. The number of complaints may increase in coming days as written complaints collected at polling places have yet to arrive at the IECC’s headquarters in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul. Official election results are not expected to be released [Reuters report] until April 24, after which, if there is no candidate with more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be run-off held between the two leading candidates at the end of May. Concerns over fraud were heightened this election after widespread allegations of fraud and ballot stuffing in 2009 led [NYT report] the IECC to order a recount costing current President Hamid Karzai an outright victory in the first round.
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.