Electoral Complaints Commission starts its work for the polls
13 May 2009 - Voters in Afghanistan have the chance to raise complaints against candidates for the forthcoming presidential and provincial council elections.
The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has announced that it is ready to receive challenges against candidates who have nominated themselves for the elections on 20 August.
When the Independent Election Commission (IEC) publishes the preliminary list of candidates on 16 May, the ECC will receive complaints between 16 and 21 May.
After 21 May the ECC will no longer accept challenges. It will then investigate the challenges and adjudicate.
On 9 June the EEC will notify the election commission if a candidate has been disqualified.
“Candidates who are challenged, once notified, will have the opportunity to respond until 4pm, 27 May. Forms and assistance will be provided to them in all provincial offices. This support will be to individuals or institutions who wish to challenge a procedure or a candidate,” said ECC Chairman Grant Kippen.
“In order to protect them, the name of those who file the complaint will not be made public. However, we will update [the public] regularly on our activities,” added Mr Kippen.
The ECC is headed by two national and three international members and comprises approximately 270 staff covering Kabul and all provinces.
“We convened our first formal meeting on 26 April. In stark contrast to what happened in 2005, the activity is Afghan led by far. Only 10 to 12 internationals will advise the commission, the rest of the staff being Afghan,” explained Mr Kippen.
Questioned about candidates who are alleged to be war criminals, Mr Kippen explained: “If there is a violation, a document is needed to support the complaint.”
“There is a mutual responsibility, including by the IEC, the candidates and campaign workers, to make sure we have the best process possible,” added Mr Kippen.