Security Threats May Undermine Some Polling Stations

Tolo News
Fecha de publicación: 
23 Mar 2014

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday said that recent assessments carried out by site monitors indicate security issues have increased in some parts of the country, and will likely keep the IEC from distributing election materials to those areas.

Although the IEC has previously "finalized" a list of functional polling facilities - 6,775 polling centers and 21,663 polling sites - the new revelations about deteriorating security in some parts of the country is likely force election officials to adjust their expectations.

Preparing to prevent violence and voter fraud at the polls in April has been one of the top priorities of election and security officials in the lead up to the elections. The Taliban have threatened voters and vowed to disrupt the electoral process.

"There is a possibility that the number of polling centers will be reduced, it seems that some of the polling stations are under threat," IEC Secretariat Chief Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail said. "It is difficult to send employees to these centers, security of the voters is an issue and also transferring election material is quit a tough task, if these issues aren't settled, the election commission will not transfer election materials to these centers."

Amarkhail said the IEC would not risk the lives of voters and employees or increasingly the potential for fraud.

The new security assessment is expected to be fully finished within the next three days, at which time IEC officials will meet with the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA) to discuss the plan of action moving forward.

"Election security is one of the most important tasks of the Ministry of Interior, we have had worked on security for the elections, and we hope that no one will succeed in disrupting them," MoIA spokesman Sediq Sediqi said.

"Next week we have a meeting with the election commission, and we will assure the election commission about security coverage of the polling process."

IEC officials declined to reveal what areas of the country were facing the most security setbacks according to their recent findings. However, that information will be released once the report is finished later this week.