IEC Chairman Says Judiciary Has Final Say in Ballot Box Theft

تم نشره في Sun 9 October / Oct 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Independent Elections Commission (IEC) Chairman Dr Khaled Kalaldeh - (Archives)

AMMAN — The Independent Election Commission (IEC) had the choice of a vote rerun or leave it to the judiciary in an incident in the Central Badia during last month's parliamentary elections in which ballot boxes were stolen and returned, said its president Khaled Kalaldeh.

He said in a meeting with Petra staff today that article 49 of the Elections Law mandated the IEC Board of Commissioners to annul election results and order a rerun of the vote. But the law did not specify the duration for objections in this case, "which means any such challenge would delay the declaration of official final results", he explained.

Kalaldeh said that failure to publish the results of the Sept. 20 poll in the official gazette beyond a Sept. 28 deadline meant missing the four-month period defined by the constitution during which to hold the election.

"The Board of Commissioners had left a decision to the judiciary", he said, stressing the "soundness and correctness" of the measures taken by the IEC, which was prompt to announce the assault on the boxes, where ballot papers were annulled.

The IEC chief also said the extension for one hour of voting in 15 constituencies had enabled about 70 thousand voters to cast ballots, dismissing accusations of a slow voting process and stressing that not a single citizen had been denied the right to vote.

He also spoke about a far lower number of objections and white ballot papers than in previous polls, noting election observers' accounts and commendation of the electoral process, who recorded one incident which was under investigation.

The electoral commission chief also said women had made an unprecedented achievement in the polls, as five female candidates outside the 20-women quota had won seats in the 130-member Lower House.

Commenting on vote-buying, Kalaldeh said it was a penal issue, "which can only be handled with the right measures, including evidences", and also stressed that transparency and integrity standards were not enough to deal with the issue of "black money".