Afghan election official wants serious punishment for fraud

Last Updated: Monday, September 7, 2009 - 20:37

Kabul: Afghanistan`s deputy chief electoral officer said on Monday that punishment for vote rigging should be the same as for terrorism and drug trafficking as fraud allegations overshadowed the country`s elections.
Partial results released yesterday in a laborious piecemeal process showed President Hamid Karzai leading with 48.6 percent of the vote, well ahead of his nearest rival
Abdullah Abdullah with 31.7 percent.

Karzai is still short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to secure an outright victory and avoid a second round run-off.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced results from 74.2 percent of the polling stations used in only Afghanistan`s second direct Presidential Election.

The next results are due to be released on Tuesday, the IEC said, with final results not due before September 17.

Following revelations that votes from 447 polling stations across the country -- around 200,000 votes – were nullified because of fraud, Afghanistan`s deputy chief electoral officer, Zekria Barakzai, called for stricter punishment for vote rigging.

"In most democratic countries the punishment for election fraud is equal to that for terrorism and drugs but unfortunately this is not the case under our law.”

"If we had such strong laws, we would willingly punish whoever is responsible for vote fraud," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, September 7, 2009 - 20:37

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