The Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan (GNCA) has closed the provincial offices of Independent Election Commission in Herat, Balkh and Kandahar provinces in a protest to force the commission to address its demands regarding the upcoming elections.
Thousands of GNCA supporters on Saturday closed the IEC office in Balkh province and held a sit-in tent outside the office.
Chanting “we don’t want rigged elections”, the protesters asked the election commission to address their demands for bringing reforms in the election process.
“Today, as you see, people [gathered here] asking for reforms. If they their demands were not addressed, they will continue demonstration,” said Sayed Qasem Salar, a member GNCA.
Meanwhile, the GNCA supporters who closed the IEC office in Herat said that they have gathered to protest against fraud in the election process.
“They don’t have the right to close the commission’s office, it is a national process,” said Aminullah Amin, head of security at Herat Police HQ.
The IEC office in Kandahar was also closed by provincial council members and tribal elders.
“We are representatives of the people, we will do whatever they say, we are not presenting the government,” said Sayed Jan Khakrezwal, head of Kandahar provincial council.
The GNCA spokesman confirmed that they have closed the IEC offices in the mentioned provinces, saying they will continue the move.
However, the IEC considered the move as an attempt to sabotage the election process.
“Making allegations of Fraud is just a pretext to prevent election process and lead the country into crisis,” said Hafizullah Hashimi, a commission of the IEC.
Following the issue, Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi, Senior Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs warned that they will use force if needed in order to ensure the security of the mentioned IEC offices and that to allow the IEC staff to continue their work.