Afghan presidential runoff - 2 558 complaints

2014-06-17 21:44
Afghanistan's presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Massoud Hossaini, AP)

Afghanistan's presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Massoud Hossaini, AP)

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Kabul - Allegations of ballot box stuffing and other fraud saw 2 558 complaints filed over Afghanistan's presidential run-off election last week, an Afghan official said on Tuesday, as vote counting continues in the race over who will lead this country staggered by decades of war.

The announcement comes as both candidates have said their own monitors at the polls recorded significant fraud, raising the prospect of a fight over the results.

Nadir Mohsini, spokesperson for the Electoral Complaint Commission, gave the total on Tuesday after the deadline to file complaints expired at midnight.

"The majority of the complaints we have registered are from the election commission employees as well as the government officials," Mohsini said.

Abdullah Abdullah, who emerged as the front-runner with 45% of the vote in the first round, faced Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, an ex-World Bank official and finance minister, in the vote Saturday. Both Abdullah and Ahmadzai have said their monitors saw significant fraud in the vote.

During the first round of the election, the commission reported receiving around 2 000 complaints. Then, the complaints focused on election workers and government employees who were allegedly involved.

Observer groups said Saturday's vote was relatively smooth, although both candidates and observers said they had evidence of fraud ranging from ballot box stuffing to proxy voting. Several polling stations also opened late or failed to open at all because of security concerns, and many voters complained of ballot shortages.

Mohsini said that 507 of the new complaints involve provincial governors, provincial and district chief of police and many other government officials interfering with the vote.

Initial estimates show that more than 7 million Afghans voted Saturday, which would be equivalent to the first round on 5 April. That would be a turnout of about 60% of Afghanistan's 12 million eligible voters.

Abdullah and Ahmadzai are competing to replace President Hamid Karzai, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third, five-year term. Karzai is the only president Afghanistan has known since the fall of the Taliban following the US-led 2001 invasion.

Whoever wins will be challenged by the Taliban insurgency, corruption and the endemic poverty of Afghanistan, home to 30 million people.

Official preliminary results are to be announced on 2 July, with final results released on 22 July. Nouristani has said his commission would release partial results in the coming weeks.

- AP
Read more on:    afghanistan
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