FREE AND FAIR ELECTION FORUM OF AFGHANISTAN

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FEFA Kabul Candidates Underreported Expenses & Abused state Resources

Kabul, 25 December, 2010– Most Kabul province candidates during this year’s parliamentary election campaigns drastically under-reported their campaign expenditures to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and many engaged in vote buying and abused state resources, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said in a report released on December 16. FEFA, which monitored the campaigns of 22 candidates in Kabul, found that 62 percent of these candidates reported campaign expenditures smaller than what FEFA observers recorded through parallel expenditure tracking. On average, the difference between the candidates’ reported expenditures and figures monitors calculated through parallel expense tracking was 3,700,000 Afghanis, or approximately $82,155. For some candidates, the gap between reported and real campaign expenditures was even more dramatic. One candidate FEFA followed throughout the campaign season reported spending 1, 798, 00 Afghanis, $39,708, while campaign finance monitors calculated that this candidate spent 11,019,000 Afghanis, $243,352, on banners, posters and billboards alone. He later won a seat in the next parliament. Vote buying in different forms was widely documented by monitors. The most common form of vote buying was candidates offering services or cash to influential individuals who could organize community bulk votes for specific candidates. In some areas of Kabul, candidates donated money to construct or renovate mosques, and, in exchange, mullahs were expected to campaign for the candidate, especially during Friday prayers. Community elders were also paid to obtain bulk votes. One candidate paid $1,000 to two community elders of Qala-e-Wahid in District 13 to secure the support of that village. Local non-profit organizations were implicated in some instances of vote buying. Monitors reported that one organization, which had previously distributed voter ID cards in impoverished neighborhoods, later reclaimed the voter I.D. cards in exchange for 30 Afghanis each. The organization then sold thousands of these cards to candidates and gave a small portion of profits to the original card holders. Another charitable organization distributed food in Exchange of 700 voter I.D. cards for a specific candidate linked to the organization.

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12/25/2010

Date

FEFA

Publisher

Press Release

Type

Election

Category

Contact Info

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Email: info@fefa.org.af

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