A statement on Tuesday by senate head Fazel Hadi Muslimyar–threatening to force the election commission to count the non-biometric votes– drew a strong backlash from legal experts and presidential candidates. Critics described his remarks as a bullying contempt for the law, and an irresponsible move.
Presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil described the remarks as shameful, and alleged that Muslimyar had received money from a certain election campaign.
“I heard from some friends that the head of the election commission said that they will not count non-biometric votes, I will count these votes by their fathers, you must tell the people the real story, and how dare you take the right of the people,” said Muslimyar.
“The gentleman who raised his voice today, he has taken money from the government and stuffed the ballot box–the head of the senate intimidates from his official tribune the head of the commission,” said presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil.
“They should not interfere and should avoid intimidation; instead they should consult the legal ways,” said university lecturer Nasrullah Stanekzai.
“We will not allow anyone to exploit even one vote,” said Habiburrahman Nang, an IEC member.
Muslimyar is believed to be a close aid to President Ashraf Ghani’s campaign team.
Reportedly, Ghani fired a member of the Afghan senate after he announced he would run against Muslimyar in an election for the post of senate chief.
“What I did with Muslimyar, I will do it with all of you: a guy announced his candidacy against Muslimyar, I fired him from the senate,” said Ghani during a conference few months ago.
Meanwhile, the Stability and Convergence election campaign, led by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, condemned Muslimyar’s remarks with a statement that called on the Afghan legal and judicial institutions to take action against intimidation by Muslimyar.