United Nations welcomes improvements to the audit process

17 Aug 2014

United Nations welcomes improvements to the audit process

KABUL - The United Nations welcomes the updates and refinements made to the ongoing comprehensive audit of the results of Afghanistan's Presidential run-off election.

"The objective of the unprecedented audit agreed to by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani is to identify and excise large-scale fraud from the millions of valid votes," said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. "As we continue to learn every day by carrying out the audit, the Independent Election Commission, the UN and the two campaign teams are working to tighten the procedures and criteria so that the demand of the Afghan people to separate fraudulent ballots from valid votes can be achieved,"

The improvements to the audit's operational framework will strengthen the integrity of the process, as well as meeting the highest international standard and being consistent with the Afghan constitution and laws. The UN urges all parties to ensure professionalism and full commitment in their participation in the audit in order to deliver credible results at the earliest time.

During the last week several refinements were discussed in the Audit Management committee co-chaired by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and UN with the participation of the two campaigns and international observers. These included the launch of a special scrutiny procedure of 6,000 boxes identified by the two campaigns; clarifying that a minimum of ten similarly marked ballots constitute a pattern for the purposes of recounts and invalidations; a process on how to identify improbable sequences of voter ID cards in voter logs, and further clarifications on what constitutes a ballot marked according to procedure.

The most significant of these issues was the new special scrutiny procedure, which commenced on 16 August. It was required by the 12 July Agreement reached between Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Ghani, which allowed agents from their campaigns to request special scrutiny on ballot boxes that register certain results.

"Operationalising the special scrutiny provision is important to promoting broad acceptance of the result of the audit," noted Mr.Kubiš, "Now both candidates can have the confidence that the polling stations about which they had the greatest concerns will not just be audited but also receive full recounts under the close monitoring of the most experienced IEC staff, UN experts and observers."

The remaining three issues discussed over the past week were raised by the electoral campaigns based on their experiences with the audit, which is expected to have completed 10,000 boxes by the close of business today. After deliberation in the Audit Management Committee, the UN recommendations on these technical matters were accepted and are now in the process of being implemented. The UN recommendations were put forward following extensive deliberation on each issue and were aimed at contributing to the audit's overall objective of capturing and cleaning large-scale fraud.